The Symptoms of Induration Or Hardening Of The Brain

Shooting pain in the head; trembling of the upper or lower limbs, or of the head: dizziness; melancholy; epileptic convulsions; paralysis occurring in different parts of the body; loss of the sense of touch at the ends of the fingers or toes without the loss of the sense of pain; dimness of vision; impairment of hearing; a stooping attitude; a jog-trot gait.

There are two forms of induration of the brain; in one, the whole brain is affected uniformly; in the other the induration occurs at scattered points through the brain. The symptoms of the first variety of the affection are so nearly like those of softening of the brain, that they cannot be distinguished. The symptoms of the second variety, or what is called multiple cerebral sclerosis, are those given above. In many cases both the brain and the spinal cord are affected. The disease is quite rare, though we have met with a few cases.

The Causes of Induration Or Hardening Of The Brain

This serious affection is attributed to excessive mental strain, long-continued lass of sleep, alcohol, and syphilis. The last two causes mentioned are undoubtedly the most common of all. The hardening effect of alcohol upon the brain and all other soft tissues, is shown by the immersion of the tissues of a dead animal in spirits for a few days. It is well known that when alcohol is received into the system, the brain receives the largest quantity of any organ except the liver. In cases in which persons have died in a drunken fit, the fluid found in the ventricles of the brain has sometimes shown evidence of the presence of a large proportion of alcohol by bursting into a flame upon the application of a match. In a case which came under our observation a few years ago, the hardening of the brain seemed to be the result of accident. The patient was a lad about seventeen years of age. When a small boy, he had received a blow upon the head, in consequence of a fall. Some months afterward, he began to suffer with epileptic fits, which continued till his death. The development of his body seemed to cease at the same time, although the head continued to increase somewhat in size. The patient lived some years, finally dying of consumption in a state of complete helplessness and imbecility. Upon making a post mortem examination of the brain, we found it to be hardened throughout to a very remarkable degree. It was also considerably shrunken, the space around it being filled with serous fluid.

The Treatment of Induration Or Hardening Of The Brain

Little or nothing can be done to cure or check the progress of this disease, except when it occurs as the result of syphilis, in which case, thorough treatment for the original disease will, in some cases, effect a cure.