Tuberculosis of the Brain

Tuberculosis (TB) is a common infection seen in mostly developing countries. Tuberculosis is quite common in India. Tuberculosis most commonly involves the lungs but sometimes it can travel to other organs including the brain.

Which parts of the Brian can be involved in Tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis usually involves the meninges (membranes surrounding the brain). Infected meninges results in a very severe form of tuberculosis called meningeal tubercular meningitis or TB meningitis. Tuberculosis can also form small lesions in the brain called tuberculomas.

What are the risk factors for developing TB meningitis or Brian Tuberculosis?
Although TB meningitis or brain TB can develop in children and adults of all ages certain specific health problems can make a person more prone to TB meningitis. These include kids less than 2 years of age, children with poor weight or malnutrition, illness leading to poor immune systems like HIV/AIDS, diabetes mellitus, etc.

What are the Symptoms of TB meningitis?
Symptoms of TB meningitis develop slowly over 1-3 weeks. The symptoms of TB meningitis or brain tuberculosis include low-grade fever, headache, vomiting. As the illness progresses the child develops a stiff neck, light sensitivity, irritability and severe headache. Children can develop seizures, weakness of parts of the body and later progress to poor consciousness.

Tuberculosis of the Brain

How is TB MENINGITIS or brain tuberculosis diagnosed?
After a thorough case history and physical examination some tests are required to make a diagnosis of TB meningitis or brain Tuberculosis. Tests would include a lumbar puncture or a spinal tap. This involves collecting a small amount of fluid from the child's spinal column. The fluid is sent to the laboratory for analysis to confirm TB meningitis or brain tuberculosis. Imaging of the brain in the form of a CT scan or a MRI is also required.

What are the complications of TB MENINGITIS or Brian Tuberculosis?
The complications of TB meningitis are significant, and can be life-threatening. Complications include seizures, hearing loss, stroke, hydrocephalus etc

How do you treat brain TB?
Treatment of Brain Tuberculosis includes anti TB medicines, steroids and decongestant medication. Anti TB medicines include four first-line drugs, isoniazid, rifampin, pyrazinamide, and ethambutol. The duration of treatment is 12 months. Adjunctive treatment with corticosteroids has been shown to reduce the damage to brain cells and also reduce death rates. Steroids are used for a period of 2 months. Some children also require medicines to control seizures and reduce the pressure inside the brain.

If your child is suffering from Tuberculosis (TB) of brain you need to consult a Tuberculosis (TB) specialist for proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

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