HomeBrainBrain DiseaseRare Brain Diseases – Thousands Affected Each Year

Rare Brain Diseases – Thousands Affected Each Year

Rare brain diseases are taken very seriously by doctors and health practitioners because these usually lead to poor prognosis. Many patients do not survive the condition and there are actually several of these that are deemed to be incurable. It is highly important to determine the earliest symptoms of the condition so that you can also find the necessary steps and interventions that will lead to a good prognosis. There are a number of rare brain diseases to know about. These will also have relative risk factors that can still be helped 01 .

Tap this page to know the results of:
  1. What are the most rare diseases?
  2. What are the top rarest diseases?
  3. What are the top neurological disorders?
  4. What are some common brain diseases?

Rare Brain Disease: ADEM or Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis

Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis is one of the rare brain diseases which is triggered by the body’s own immune response. The condition usually affects patients after they have been infected by a virus or just after vaccination. Other infections are also suspected to help trigger the condition such as parasitic or bacterial infection . The autoimmune demyelination is usually compared by doctors to multiple sclerosis and is categorized under the multiple sclerosis borderline disorders 02, 03 . The incidence rate among individuals is 8 for every 1 million per year. The condition generally affects people of any age, although teenagers and children are the most usual victims. Majority of patients with the brain condition recover but there is a 3% to 6% mortality rate 04 . People can generally recover from acute disseminated encephalomyelitis with only minimal effects carried on for several years.

Progressive Supranuclear Palsy – Rare brain disorder presenting

This is one of the rare brain diseases that can lead to several inflammatory lesions in the brain as well as the spinal cord. The white matter is usually the region mostly affected by the disease . The lesions can be located at different areas like the cerebellum, both cerebral sides, the spinal cord, the basal ganglia, the cortex and the brainstem 05 .

There are cases wherein individuals will not show any signs or symptoms for several months or years before the condition presents again. The demyelinating episodes are one of the most unique characteristics of the condition, giving it the name recurrent disseminated encephalomyelitis.

Rare Brain Diseases: Parkinson’s Disease

Even though it a commonly heard condition, Parkinson’s disease is actually one of the rare brain diseases. The condition is described as a neurodegenerative condition which involves the nerves and the brain. The condition begins when the nerve cells found in the brain cannot function or die thereby releasing a neurotransmitter known as dopamine.

Dopamine is highly needed for various functions such as muscle movement and mood. Parkinson’s disease06  patients usually start presenting symptoms at a later age like 40 years old and above. Both men and women can be afflicted with the disorder.

The progression will also change depending on the individual. Some patients manage to display only minimal symptoms while others might have very severe manifestations that require immediate and several medical interventions. The true cause of the condition is not known although some experts believe that genetic and environmental characteristics seem to play a major role in the development of Parkinson’s disease. Some of the usual symptoms that are noticeable in the condition include tremors, problems in coordination and balance, slow movement and rigidity.

Rare Brain Diseases: Brain Cancer

Cancer may be becoming more common these days but brain cancer is actually one of the rare brain diseases. There are two general kinds of brain cancer 07 . The first is primary brain cancer which originates in the brain. The second is metastatic brain cancer which begins in some of the part of the body and then transfers to the brain.

The first manifestation of brain cancer is the abnormal growth of cells leading to a tumor. The tumor should then be categorized as either benign or malignant, the latter being the more dangerous between the town. Rare brain diseases such as brain cancer will lead to a variety of symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, headache, muscle twitching, numbness, problems with coordination, movement and balance, problems in communication and memory and cognitive problems.

Experts cannot truly point out the true triggers or causes of rare brain diseases like the development of tumor or brain cancer. There are many who say that unhealthy habits, environmental factors and genetic factors all play a role in the development of the disorder. There are a number of treatment approaches to brain cancer although prognosis  is generally moderate or poor.

Brain Diseases: Angelman Syndrome

Angelman syndrome or AS is one of the rare brain diseases that presents a variety of unique characteristics among affected individuals. The condition is known as a neuro-genetic disorder which displays developmental disability and intellectual incapacity among affected individuals. The person might also show other odd characteristics like smiling or laughing all the time, showing a very happy or positive personality and having jerky movements like flapping the hands 08 .

Seizures and sleep disturbances are also common symptoms of the condition. Angelman syndrome is one of the rare brain diseases which is said to be caused by the inactivation of the inherited genes called chromosome 15 09 . The maternal genes are imprinted while the paternal ones are not. Another name for the disorder is happy puppet syndrome mainly because of the happy disposition of patients. The patient will display several other odd symptoms of the disease. There is no cure for the condition.

Rare Brain Disease: Alexander Disease

Alexander is another one of the rare brain diseases which is described as neurodegenerative 10 . It is very rare according to medical experts and stems from genetic mutations and changes that occur among babies and children. The affected individuals may show delays in development as well as other changes in their physical traits. The central nervous system is mainly affected by the condition. It targets the cerebellum and the midbrain. The children of affected parents have a 50% chance of also acquiring the same condition.

It is one of the rare brain diseases linked to leukodystrophies which affect the proper formation of the myelin sheath. The white matter inside the brain starts to deteriorate thereby causing deposits and fibrous formations. There is no known cure for Alexander disease so asymptomatic treatment is generally advised.


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Written by Dr. Ozair (CEO of SignSymptom.com) as physician writers are physicians who write creatively in fields outside their practice of medicine.

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