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Possible brain tumor in child under 5 years old
Anon_183567 posted:
My daughter (age 4) was diagnosed with ventriculomegaly (enlarged ventricles in the brain) in the womb when I was 8 months pregnant with her. At birth the hospital supposedly did an MRI and said the Ventriculomegaly "went away". (They said it as if she had the flu and then it went away; very casual). We accepted this as a miracle. At 6 months old we noticed she was off, not well. By 9 months her pediatrician at that time noticed this also and wanted to start examining her at 12 months. Her dad got laid off from a couple of jobs because of the economy, lost health insurance. She didn't get diagnosed until about age 3 (2010) when they diagnosed her with severe mental retardation. The MRI she had about this time also showed here ventricles still enlarged. Her neurologist at that time did not understand why the hospital where she was born said her ventricels were fine when they are not.

She is now 4 (5 in July)with the mental capacity of a 9 month old. She now has a new neurologist. She just had an MRI so her new neurologist can see if her ventricles have enlarged more than they appeared in her MRI in 2010 and in 2007 from the original ultrasound of my pregnany. He also wants to see if she has a brain tumor. The doctor is also looking for epilepsy. I've been reading a lot on brain tumors and finding there are a few brain tumors that grow from the ventricles in the brain causing the ventricles to become enlarged, putting pressure on the braind, causing hydrocephalus, etc. The only thing is these articles I'm reading list symptoms of each type of brain tumor. My daughter has the mental capacity of a 9 month old (does not speak) so how would I know these symptoms if she cannot say?

My question: is it possible my daughter has had a tumor of some kind in her brain since the womb and if so, is it possible to miss this in previous MRI's? She had two MRI's on Tuesday; one with dye contrast, one without. This is the first time she's had an MRI with dye contrast. Also, is it possible for a brain tumor to cause severe mental retardation or epilepsy?
Elizabeth_WebMD_Staff responded:
Hello and Welcome -

I am so very sorry to hear about your what you and your family are going through.

You have very good questions that are difficult to answer. Hopefully when you go in to talk about the results of the MRI's her doctor can give you much more information.

Were you able to get the original MRI films from birth for comparison?

Please keep us posted about what you find out,
Anon_183567 replied to Elizabeth_WebMD_Staff's response:
Today I received the results of my daughter's MRI's. No brain tumor. No Epilepsy.Her ventricles are abnormally large. Her neurologist had her do blood work.

There are a few things flagged on the blood work results. Hemoglobin, Hematocrit are listed as HIGH. I'm not so concerned about that. I am concerned that her white blood cell count is LOW and her gluclose levels are high. When she had this blood work done it was first thing in the morning (she hadn't eaten anything). Eating is supposed to increase glucose levels but like I said she hadn't eaten anything. Could this mean she has diabetes? Type 2 Diabetes runs on both my side and her dad's side of the family. Her Neurologist wasn't sure why her white blood cell count was low. He made copies of all the test results and suggested I take my daughter to her pediatrician. Any idea? I know you cant diagnosis but any suggestions would help. Thanks
Roy Benaroch, MD replied to Elizabeth_WebMD_Staff's response:
It can be very difficult to work through the evaluation of such a severe mental delay. I do think a long consultation with your pediatrician will be a good idea to help you begin to understand what's going on. I don't know may of the details, and I certainly can't make a diagnosis, but I can tell you some things in general about severe mental retardation in children.

The cause is most often some kind of damage to the brain that occurred during pregnancy, not the fault of anyone's, and nothing that anyone could have noticed or prevented at the time. More rarely, damage can occur near birth from a traumatic or difficult birth experience (often related to prematurity). There are also infections and exposures during pregnancy that can cause this, or sometimes rare genetic conditions that cause a malformation of the brain or other metabolic problems that prevent the brain from developing normally.

Your pediatrician and neurologist should be able to narrow down this list, and provide some solid answers about what you can expect. Your child needs to be plugged into rehab services like OT,PT, and ST (occupational, physical, and speech therapy) to maximize potential and help make whatever gains are possible.

The labs, I can't interpret, but probably won't amount to much to worry about. Review them with your pediatrician to be sure.

Best of luck!

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