Monday March 18, 2019

Frequency of Brain Tumours Increase in Children With Common Genetic Syndrome

Applying the new criteria to MRI scans will help physicians identify probable tumours.

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Brain tumours may occur in children with common genetic syndrome
, Pixabay

Parents, please take note. The frequency of brain tumours has been underestimated in children with the common genetic syndrome — neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), a new study has found.

According to the researchers, this disorder is characterised by birthmarks on the skin and benign nerve tumours that develop in or on the skin. Brain tumours are also known to occur in children and adults with NF1.

They estimated that only 15-20 per cent of kids with NF1 develop brain tumours. But the study, published in the journal Neurology: Clinical Practice, found that the frequency of brain tumours in this population was more than three times higher.

brain tumours can be confused with harmless bright spots, it has never been clear whether finding these abnormalities via MRI should be a cause for concern
Brain tumours can be confused with harmless bright spots, it has never been clear whether finding these abnormalities via MRI should be a cause for concern. Wikimedia Commons

“I’m not delivering the message anymore that brain tumours are rare in NF1. This study has changed how I decide which children need more surveillance and when to let the neuro-oncologists know that we may have a problem,” said senior author David H. Gutmann from the Washington University School of Medicine.

Brain Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans of children with NF1 characteristically show bright spots that are absent in the scans of unaffected children. Unlike tumours, they are generally thought to disappear in teenage years, the researchers said.

Since brain tumours can be confused with harmless bright spots, it has never been clear whether finding these abnormalities via MRI should be a cause for concern, they added.

Representation of a Brain Tumour. Flickr
Representation of a Brain Tumor. Flickr

For the study, the team developed a set of criteria to distinguish tumours from other bright spots. The researchers then analysed scans from 68 NF1 patients and 46 children without NF1 for comparison.

Also Read: Taking Care of Mental Health Problems in Children, may Boost Parent’s Mental Health Too 

All but four (94 per cent) of the children with NF1 had bright spots, and none of the children without NF1 did. Further, in 57 per cent of the children with bright spots, at least one of the spots was deemed likely to be a tumour, the research team found.

Applying the new criteria to MRI scans will help physicians identify probable tumours, but that does not mean that all children with NF1 should be scanned regularly, the researchers cautioned. (IANS)

Next Story

Intake Of Vitamin B Nutrient Can Prevent Babies From Brain Disorders Caused By Cold During Pregnancy

Cold and flu are often unavoidable, even if the mother has had a flu shot. But cold and flu during pregnancy double the risk of future mental illnesses.

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When mothers had a cold or flu during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy, the newborns'  ability to cease or delay the effect on the brain decreased by 27 per cent. Pixabay

Besides flu vaccines, maternal intake of a vitamin B nutrient can prevent babies from brain disorders caused by cold or flu in pregnancy, say researchers.

The study showed that higher levels of choline prevented brain problems and mental illness, like attention deficit disorder and schizophrenia, in babies even when the mother had cold or flu during pregnancy.

“Cold and flu are often unavoidable, even if the mother has had a flu shot. But cold and flu during pregnancy double the risk of future mental illnesses. More and more information show choline helps the baby’s brain develop properly,” said Robert Freedman, Professor at the University of Colorado in the US.

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The study showed that higher levels of choline prevented brain problems and mental illness, like attention deficit disorder and schizophrenia, in babies even when the mother had cold or flu during pregnancy. Pixabay

“We found higher levels of choline prevent foetal brain problems from developing, even when the mother is infected. Choline supplements in pregnancy can have a lifelong benefit for the infant,” Freedman said.

For the study, published in the Journal of Paediatrics, the team assessed prenatal maternal infection, C-Reactive Protein (CRP) — a marker of maternal inflammation — and the mothers’ choline levels.

Brain development before birth was assessed by measuring the baby’s brain waves soon after birth.

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Choline supplements in pregnancy can have a lifelong benefit for the infant,” Freedman said.
Pixabay

When mothers had a cold or flu during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy, the newborns’
ability to cease or delay the effect on the brain decreased by 27 per cent.

Maternal flu also decreased children’s ability to pay attention and play.

Also Read: Study Warns Patients That Now Drugs Contain Inactive Ingredient

However, these effects were prevented if the mother had higher choline levels, the findings showed.

While the body creates some choline on its own and it is also naturally present in certain foods, including liver, red meat and eggs, pregnant women are recommended 450 mg of choline a day to improve babies’ brain development. (IANS)