Calcium deposits in brain, also termed as cranium calcification is a condition wherein small spots of calcium get accumulated in the brain. These abnormal calcium deposits which appear like tiny white flecks can occur in many places in the brain right from the basal ganglia, cerebral cortex, dentate nucleus, subthalamus to the red nucleus areas. This health syndrome occur when the mineral calcium in our body precipitate out of the blood and the central nervous system fluid. In simple words, calcium deposits in brain are caused when the calcium in our blood is not absorbed by the body. The condition is more common than one may think and prevails in both men and women equally. The medical significance of this disorder may vary from none to possibly severe with respect to the normal brain functioning, i.e. the condition may either cause no serious problem or can lead to chronic health problems.
Calcium Deposits in Brain: Causes
Though it is difficult to ascertain the actual cause of calcium deposits in brain stem, here are some of the probable factors that may lead to this health ailment.
Toxoplasmosis: Toxoplasmosis is a chronic parasitic infection caused by parasite Toxoplasma gondii which is found in cat feces. It is a rare infection that usually does not affect a normal healthy person, however, people with weak resistance or immune system, or even pregnant women are more prone to acquire it, especially while cleaning a cat’s litter box, which is the breeding place for this parasite. This infection can be one of the major causes for calcium deposits in brain which may potentially damage the brain and eyes. For more information, read the article toxoplasmosis: symptoms and treatment
Meningioma: Meningiomas are basically tumors that may develop on the outer lining of the brain called meninges. Meningiomas can be another probable cause for calcification, wherein the calcium deposits occur on these tumors. However, the good point is that most of these calcium deposits and brain tumors are benign, i.e. they are non cancerous and very rarely they can be malignant or cancerous.
Aneurysm: Aneurysm is another factor that may contribute to calcium deposits in the brain. It is a condition wherein an artery particularly in the brain develops a weak spot that causes a widening or enlarging of blood vessel which may eventually start showing calcifications. Though very rare to occur, these calcifications are usually arches or circle shaped and do not contribute to the severity of brain aneurysm.
Calcium Deposits in Brain: Symptoms
As said before, calcium deposits can be found anywhere in the brain, and may lead to some mild to severe mental disabilities due to loss of brain cells. The symptoms mainly include progressive deterioration of mental abilities or dementia, loss of previous motor development, spastic paralysis and in some cases, even athetosis, the twisting movements of the hands and feet. Some other less common calcium deposit symptoms in brain are vision disturbances (optic atrophy), blurred vision, ear infections, traits of Parkinson’s Disease including tremors and rigidity, muscle cramping or dystonia, a mask-like facial expression, uncontrollable spasmodic irregular movements or chorea, seizures, shuffling walk, and a pill rolling motion of the fingers. For more information on calcium deposits, read the article on too much calcium side effects.
Calcium Deposits in Brain: Treatment
Treatment for calcium deposits in brain mainly depends upon its underlying cause and diagnosis. The doctor will perform certain diagnostic tests like overall physical exam, neurologic exam to check for the alertness, coordination, reflexes and response to pain, and CT scan and MRI of the brain for detailed images of the brain to detect the locations of the calcium deposits in brain. The treatment mainly involves anticoagulant therapy, surgical excision of large calcium deposits, colchicines and certain anti-inflammatory medications.
Calcium deposits in brain, in some cases, can be extremely severe and may need immediate medical attention, while in other cases it possesses no harm to the patient. However, to be on the safer side, if you notice any of the aforementioned symptoms of calcium deposits in brain, do not delay and instantly consult your doctor to elucidate the case.
By Kanika Khara