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martes, 21 de julio de 2009

Brain Tumors: Oligodendroglioma

These are the chronicles of a brain cancer patient with a tumor (oligodendroglioma 3) in the left temporal lobe that controls language. I wrote them for my friends, with the pervert illusion that words could stop the dispersion of the broken splinters in the mirror of memory.

Brain Tumors

Symptoms and Treatments

Brain Tumor
Most Common Symptoms

• Frequent headaches (reported by 50% of patients)

• Blurry vision

• Nausea and/or vomiting

• Personality or cognitive changes

Other symptoms
that are site-specific:

• Seizures

• Speech impairment

• Weakness

• Numbness on one side

• Problems with coordination, balance or mobility

Left Temporal lobe

• Language comprehension
• Behavior
• Memory
• Hearing
• Emotions

Two Types of Cells That Make Up the Nervous System

• Neurons send and receive nerve messages

• Glial cells (neuroglia) surround the neurons.
– Oligodendrocytes
– Astrocytes
– Ependymal cells
– Microglia
– Satellite cells


• Oligodendrocytes are cells that make myelin, a fatty substance that forms a protective sheath around nerve cells.

• Oligodendrogliomas

– Occurs frequently in the frontal or temporal lobes
– Can be classified as low or high grade
– Common among men and women; 3% of brain tumors mostly affect people in their 20s-40-s, but can occur in children
– More common in men than women
– Accounts for slightly less than three percent of all brain tumors
– May be associated with 1p or 19q chromosomal losses
– Half of patients with oligodendrogliomas are still alive after five years


• CT scan
A CT (computerized tomography) scanner is a special kind of X-ray machine. Instead of sending out a single X-ray through your body as with ordinary X-rays, several beams are sent simultaneously from different angles.

• MRI (Magnetic Resonance Image)
MR imaging uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and virtually all other internal body structures. The images can then be examined on a computer monitor, printed or copied to CD. MRI does not use ionizing radiation (x-rays).

• Biopsy
A surgical procedure in which a small sample of tissue is taken from the tumor and examined under a microscope. The purpose of a biopsy is to diagnose a tumor; to find out its type and grade.


• Surgery

• Radiation therapy

• Chemotherapy

Preparation for Awake Craneotomy: FIDUCIAL
A Silent Movie of the Brain (FMRI)

• MRI creating a three-dimentional image of the brain while listening to 7 stories and imagining these situations without moving or speaking.

• MRI creating a three-dimentional image of the brain while listening to math problems and solving them without moving or speaking.

Awake Craneotomy

• The skull is opened while the patient is under anesthesia
• The patient is awakened
• Using the three-dimensional MRI of the Brain as a guiding map, the surgeon touches with a tool the surrounding areas of the tumor that might affect speech or math skills while another doctor and a linguist or translator involve the patient in language drills and math exercises.
• The surgeon determines which parts of the tumor can be removed without affecting the math or language skills of the patient. If a patient cannot speak or do math while a specific point of the surrounding area of the tumor is touched, the surgeon determines not to extract that particular area.
• Once the map of the tumor that will be extracted is completed, the surgeon starts the surgery while the patient continues speaking non stop.
• Upon finishing the surgery, the patient is put again under anesthesia, the skull is covered and the tissue is neatly put back to “normal.”

And you Get a Cool New Hair Style!


“Brain Tumor Basics.” 2009. Brain Tumors. The University of
Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. March 16, 2009.

Burmett, Sarah, Alastair J. Munro & John Pillinger.
“What is a CT scanner?” 2008. March 14, 2009.

Mc Lean, Radha. The Essential Guide to Brain Tumors. Ed.
Edythe Vassall. San Francisco: National Brain Tumor
Foundation, 2007.

“Temporal Lobe Damage.” 2009. Merck Manuals. March 16,

“What is MRI of the Body?” August 20, 2008. Radiology Info.
March 16, 2009.

2 comentarios:

  1. increíble historia!!!! yo también me acabo de operar de un supuesto oligodendroglioma en el lóbulo temporal izquierdo... un abrazo y fuerza :)

    1. Espero que todo salga bien. He sobrevivido por seis años. Sí se puede.