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Brain Lesions (Lesions on the Brain) (cont.)

Brain Lesions Signs and Symptoms

Patient Comments

Most of the signs and symptoms encountered with brain lesions, except for obvious head trauma, are not specific and can be seen in many other diseases. Even with head trauma, there are symptoms that may be subtle. In this section, signs and symptoms will be divided into three sections. The first section will present some signs and symptoms that often help medical caregivers begin to narrow the diagnostic possibilities. The second section will discuss the many non-specific, but important signs and symptoms that may occur at some time in many individuals with diverse causes of brain lesions. The third section will present some signs of brain lesions that are more specific to infants and children, although children can exhibit most of the signs and symptoms listed in sections one and two.

Signs and symptoms of some prominent types of brain lesions are as follows:

  • Trauma: Penetrating or skull-depressed head wounds, facial bruising, scalp hematomas, scalp lacerations, history of falls, fights, and auto accidents (especially if the patient had any loss of consciousness or is in a coma)

  • Infectious: Fever, stiff neck, and headache (about 1-3 days) that may progress to confusion and seizures may be seen with meningitis.

  • Vascular: Sudden or rapid onset of headache (minutes to days) often described as the worst headache ever, and sometimes associated with fainting, may be seen with a leaking or ruptured brain aneurysm. Sudden or rapid onset (minutes to hours) of slurred speech, weakness and numbness of an extremity, or a facial droop may be seen with strokes.

  • Malignant: Onset over days to months of headaches, weakness, personality or mental status changes, or seizures in patients with a known history of cancer (in organs other than the brain) is concerning for metastatic brain lesions (for example, lung cancer that has spread to the brain).

Though the signs and symptoms listed below in this second section may also develop with the previously listed conditions, the acuity of those conditions is what often persuades these individuals to seek emergent medical evaluation. The signs and symptoms below are nonetheless important, but less specific and may occur with almost all types of brain lesions. They may develop over days to years and are more typical of benign, genetic, and immune brain lesions; and are often characterized by brain cell death, plaque formation and other causes related to brain lesion formation:

  • Headaches (recurrent or constant)

  • Nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite

  • Changes in mood, personality, behavior, and cognitive abilities

  • Vision, hearing, and balance problems

  • Muscle stiffness, weakness or paralysis

  • Change or loss of sense of smell

  • Memory loss, confusion

Symptoms that may occur late in the progressive decline of individuals are seizures and coma, which often precede the person's death.

Medical Editor:

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Brain Lesions - Signs and Symptoms

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Brain Lesions - Experience

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