This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
Pain in the head; dizziness; impairment of intellect; drowsiness; despondency; slow and hesitating speech; loss of speech; prickling and twitching of the limbs; sight and hearing impaired; appetite good; tendency to accumulate flesh; in advanced stages of the disease, sometimes partial paralysis; weak pulse; vomiting; snoring breathing; unconsciousness.
In softening of the cerebellum, usually pain at the back of the head; dimness of vision; paralysis; tottering gait; tendency to walk backwards; dizziness; dullness of hearing.
Softening of the brain may result from inflammation, from the cutting off of the supply of blood by an apoplectic clot, or by injury to the skull by a severe blow. It is most likely to occur in old age. We have seen some cases in young men, in whom it was due to self-abuse. It is also produced by the use of alcoholic liquors, and by exposure to intense cold. Excessive brain work has been put down as one of the chief causes of the disease, probably on account of its frequent occurrence in persons who do a great deal of brain labor. We think, however, that this is a mistake. It is more probable that in these cases it is due to sedentary habits and errors in diet, two causes which act together to produce congestion of the brain, and defective nutrition of the organ.
Softening of the brain is by no means so common an affection as is generally supposed. A large share of the cases of so-called softening, are simply active or passive congestion, which in many cases, results from sedentary habits and abuse of the stomach. The real disease is a very formidable one, and is seldom if ever cured.