What is pseudotumor cerebri?
Pseudotumor cerebri literally means "false brain tumor." It is likely due to high pressure within the skull caused by the buildup or poor absorption of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The disorder is most common in females between the ages of 20 and 50. Symptoms, which closely mimic those of large brain tumors, include:
- Pulsating sounds within the head
Obesity, other treatable diseases, and some medications can cause raised intracranial pressure and symptoms of pseudotumor cerebri. Diagnosis is based on a thorough medical history and physical examination. If a diagnosis is confirmed, close, repeated ophthalmologic exams are required to monitor any changes in vision.
Drugs may be used to reduce fluid buildup and to relieve pressure. Weight loss through dieting or weight loss surgery and cessation of certain drugs (including oral contraceptives, tetracycline, and a variety of steroids) may lead to improvement. Surgery may be needed to remove pressure on the optic nerve. Therapeutic shunting, which involves surgically inserting a tube to drain CSF from the lower spine into the abdominal cavity, may be needed to remove excess CSF and relieve the pressure.
The disorder may cause progressive, permanent vison loss in some individuals. Pseudotumor cerebri can be a recurring problem.
How can I or my loved one help improve care for people with pseudotumor cerebri?
Consider participating in a clinical trial so clinicians and scientists can learn more about pseudotumor cerebri and related disorders. Clinical research uses human volunteers to help researchers learn more about a disorder and perhaps find better ways to safely detect, treat, or prevent disease.
All types of volunteers are needed—those who are healthy or may have an illness or disease—of all different ages, sexes, races, and ethnicities to ensure that study results apply to as many people as possible, and that treatments will be safe and effective for everyone who will use them.
For information about participating in clinical research visit NIH Clinical Research Trials and You. Learn about clinical trials currently looking for people with pseudotumor cerebri at Clinicaltrials.gov.
Where can I find more information about pseudotumor cerebri?
Information may be available from the following resource:
Intracranial Hypertension Research Foundation