Brain tumors are abnormal growth of tissue in the brain or spinal cord. This abnormal growth disrupts the normal functions of the brain. Brain tumors are categories based on where they originated and whether they are cancerous or noncancerous. They can be benign which means they do not contain cancer cells, they grow slowly, and do not spread into other tissue. The tumors can also be malignant, which means they contain cancer cells and spread rapidly into surrounding tissue. (“Brain Tumors”) Surgery is the typical treatment for benign and most malignant brain tumors.
Each function of the brain is performed by being sent through chemical communication or neurotransmitters. Every function of the brain relates back to chemistry, and the chemical changes, and reactions. (“Brain Chemistry (Neurochemistry)”) Brain tumors themselves do not directly harm the human body, it harms itself by disrupting the functions within the brain. The function of the brain are being damaged by the presence of the brain tumor, and the possibility of the damage being permanent after the removal of the tumor is very likely. (“Dr. Isaac Yang, Neurosurgery – Los Angeles, CA”)
Four of the most highly recorded functions affected by brain tumors are fertility, hearing damage, personality loss, and short term memory loss. (“Brain Tumor Symptoms, Treatment, Support, Research | American Brain Tumor Association”) Fertility is controlled by the pituitary gland which creates hormones. The pituitary gland is a master gland, although it is only pea size. The gland is located below the larger portions of the brain. (“You & Your Hormones”) Damage of this function can result in trouble conceiving a child, and even complete infertility. Personality is developed and controlled by the frontal lobe, which generates ll components of behavior. When large amounts of pressure is applied to this area, personality can be altered. Socially accepted behavior is disregarded, self monitoring, and impulse control and many aspects of personality is at risk for damage. The temporal lobe process hearing, the lobe receives sound and speech, and allows for comprehension of the speech. Hearing loss is mainly associated with a specific type of tumor, a Acoustic Neuroma. Located deep inside the skull, as these tumors grow they affect many portions of brain that control vital functions of the human body.
Hearing is so greatly affected because of the location of the tumor, it grows horizontal to the internal auditory canal. (“Acoustic Neuroma | House Clinic”) Other tumors can still have an affect on hearing, just not as severe. The limbic system and more specific, the hippocampus is responsible for memory function. The brain tumor does not generate any harm to the human body, the presence and weight, or pressure of the brain tumor cause the damage to these functions. (“Dr. Isaac Yang, Neurosurgery – Los Angeles, CA”) Doctor Isaac Yang, MD, answered on behalf of UCLA Health, “A brain tumor by itself doesn’t directly affect the body…
What brain tumors do is affect either the brain itself or the spinal cord by compressing and compromising the function of the brain that it involves (Yang, Isaac MD)”. The brain is a busy organ, constantly contributing to the many functions of the human body. The brain in made up of two different types of cells, neurons or nerve cells, and neuroglial cells or supporting cells. The brain is protected by bones called the cranium, which makes up the skull. The brain consist of three main portions, the cerebrum, cerebellum, and the brain stem.
The cerebrum is the largest portion of the brain, sometimes the brain as a whole is revered to as the cerebrum. The cerebrum is split into two parts, the right and left cerebral hemisphere, which are then divided into lobes. The frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes. The cerebrum process surroundings and how to respond to them, using the five senses, sight, hearing, taste, and smell. Other functions the cerebrum maintains are emotions, talking ability, ability to think, read, and learn. The cerebellum is located directly under the cerebrum towards the back of the brain.
The cerebellum coordinates balance and movement, and participates in the many functions controlled by the cerebrum. The brain stem is located between the brain and spinal cord, connecting the two. The brain stem is split into three parts, midbrain, pons, and the medulla oblongata. The brain stem sends messages back and forth between the brain and the rest of the body. Functions controlled by the brain stem are breathing, blood pressure body temperature, hunger, and thirst. Each region depends upon each other to make everyday human functions possible.
Which functions damaged is based on the location of the brain tumor. Brain tumors can affect the body in different ways, depending on the location. It can cause numbness or weakness in the face, arm, leg or torso. It can cause imbalance, poor coordination of the arms or legs, blindness, hearing loss, vertigo or decrease the ability to speak or understand language. (Mark, Angela MD). ” Neurosurgery has came a long way in the discovery in the anatomy of the brain. Many medicines, procedures, and even cures would not be possible if not for the understanding of the anatomy of the brain. (“Brain Anatomy. Anatomy of the Human Brain”) The ancient document, called Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus was written in 1700 BC.
This document mentioning the human brain seven times, is the oldest record to do so, and the first written record to analyze the anatomy of the brain. Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus had 48 cases, 27 of which were head injuries. Treatment was based on scientific approach, free of superstition. The papyrus is the first medical document in history. The human brain has not always been held to such measure. The ancient Egyptians, and many other cultural groups, believed the heart was the center of intelligence, thought, memory, and even consciousness. When making mummies, the Egyptians would remove the brain through the nostril and dispose of it.
While preserving other organs. (“Neuroscience for Kids – Ancient “Brain”‘) During the Renaissance Era, Leonardo Da Vinci drew and dissected the human brain. Important medical discoveries happened during this time period and neurology continued to evolve. Even gh many aspects of the brain and it’s anatomy have not yet been understood, knowledge continued and will continue to grow. The most popular beliefs are beginning to be scientifically proven wrong. The recent discovery in neuroscience is that female and male brains have much more in common than once believed.
Sex differences in the brain are irresistible to those looking to explain stereotypic differences between men and women… Many people believe there is such a thing as a ‘male brain’ and a ‘female brain. ‘ But when you look beyond the popularized studies—at collections of all the data—you often find that the differences are minimal (Eliot, Lise). ” Even more recently, scientist have began to explain abnormal brain chemistry, which is said to relate back to mental illness such as schizophrenia. The conclusion from the research was that brain cells from a mentally ill patient, generate higher amounts of three types of neurotransmitters.
A cure for schizophrenia has not been discovered, but the research did find the illness to be related to genetics. (“Scientists Prove Schizophrenia Is Actually A Chemical Imbalance”, 2014) Technology plays a strong role in medical discoveries and research, as well as diagnosis, and treatment plans. As technology continues to advance, the medical field advances as well. Brain tumors can be fairly hard to diagnose, noticeable signs could be seizures, progressive headaches, and weakness. Which are many other symptoms that could be due to other illnesses that are a lot less damaging and life threatening.
Imaging is the most common procedure. Medical imaging is creating a picture or scan of the internal portions of the body. Types of medical imaging includes X-rays, computed tomography, and mammography. Molecular imaging is another type of medical imaging, that gives detailed images that allow for early diagnoses. After a brain tumor is diagnosed, knowing the type of brain tumor is essential for treatment. (“Types of Medical Imaging”) Biopsy is a surgical producer that is used to take samples of the tumor, to evaluate the tumor and discover the specific type.
In a biopsy a small hole is drilled into the skull and needle is inserted into the hole extracting a sample of the tumor. A similar but less common producer, is a lumbar puncture (spinal tap). In rare cases, tumor cells are located in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Which is the fluid surrounding the spinal cord and brain. During the procedure, a needle is inserted between the vertebrae and lower back to obtain the fluid for testing. (“Lumbar Puncture”) Other procedures like Audiometry and Visual Field testing can be used to test everyday functions, to observe if nerves have been damaged by brain tumors.
During the Audiometry test, different sounds with different pitches is produced by an audiometer. (“Hearing (audiometry) test”) The Visual Field test is used to measure central or peripheral vision. These test can also be helpful for a better understanding of the location of the tumor. (“Visual Field Test: Learn How the Procedure Is Performed”) Which is vital in the treatment of the tumor. Based on the data, the four functions, short term memory, altered personality, hearing loss, and fertility, relate to the data collected on diagnosed brain tumors.
Diagnosed brain tumors hit a peak in the year 2000, as did reported personality changes, hearing loss, and infertility. Brain tumors continue to spike, although as treatment started to grow, anatomy of the brain became clearer, and procedures became routine, the functions began to level out and be more less sever. Other factors that could attribute to the rise of these functions, could be genetics, or other causes other than the tumor. Those factors can include the treatment, radiation has been a cause in many symptoms like fertility trouble, and memory loss.
There’s many causes for brain tumors, but some studies have shown that brain tumors can be caused by exposure to certain chemicals. One of the studies show that exposure to ionizing radiation can be a leading cause in the development of a brain tumor. Other chemicals such as building materials, furniture and packaging. At this time there is no cure for treating a brain tumor, therefore a brain tumor can not be completely preventable. The importance of understanding the anatomy of the brain and the functions still remain.