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brain tumors and cysts that don't show up on mri? please advise


Has anyone had a brain tumor or brain cyst that didn't show up on an early mri, but then turned out to have one later? I had an mri about 4 years ago, they said it looked good. This was before I had  tonic clonic seizures (2) which I did not have until last year but at the time I was definitely having symptoms that could have been other types of seizures.


I'm just wondering because I have awful luck with every drug I try, and I have other cyst/tumor symptoms. I also haven't responded well to (many) other drugs for depression, so  I feel like there must be some underlying cause to all this, otherwise I would have had some luck by now.  Lately I feel these vague weird symptoms. I feel slightly naseaus all the tiem and don't want to eat anything, and I have strange headaches. I don't think the answer is to just start taking headache meds.  How likely is it that if I had another mri they would find something? I know it's possible, but I mean, since the one I had when I started having problems was fine...


Have you ever had an FMRI? I think an FMRI shows up more of the brain than a normal MRI scan. If not, it might be worth asking for one.

There are many other testing options available.  I know a person on another forum who had 5 EEGs before something showed up.  That's because some problems reside deeper in the brain and require more in-depth testing, such as:

Video EEG Monitoring -- is a prolonged simultaneous recording of the patient’s behavior along with the EEG. Seeing EEG and video data at the same time permits precise correlation between seizure activity in the brain and the patient’s behavior during seizures.

Video-EEG can be vital in the diagnosis of epilepsy and epileptic seizures. It allows the doctor to determine:

Whether events with unusual features are epileptic seizures…
The type of epileptic seizure, and…
The region of the brain from which the seizures arise.

Continuous Video EEG Monitoring – studies the brain waves over time with a patient staying in a special unit for at least 24 hours. Antiepileptic medication is stopped for the duration of this test, since the objective is for seizures to occur so the abnormal brain waves they produce can be recorded.

A video camera connected to the EEG provides constant monitoring, enabling the medical team to pinpoint the area where a seizure occurs and track the patient’s physiological response to the seizure. Continuous monitoring can also help distinguish between epilepsy and other conditions. It can characterize the seizure type for more precise medication adjustments, and locate the originating area of seizures within the brain, prior to surgery.

CAT Scan (Computerized Axial Tomography) or CT (Computed Tomography) – is an imaging technique that is a safe and non-invasive, using low radiation X-rays to create a computer-generated, three-dimensional image of the brain. It provides detailed information about the structure of the brain by using a series of X-ray beams passing through the head to create cross-sectional images of the brain.

These may reveal abnormalities (blood clots, cysts, tumors, scar tissue, etc.) in the skull or brain which may be related to seizures. It allows physicians to examine the brain, section by section, as the test is being conducted and helps to point to where a person's seizures originate.

Functional MRI -- takes images in "real time" sequence and faster than the traditional MRI. By providing information about active brain tissue function and blood delivery, it is more precise and is often used before surgery to create a "map" of the brain and indicate where language, motor, and sensory areas are located. During the scan, the patient is asked to perform certain tasks, such as tapping fingers or repeating a list of words. From the image, the neurological team can locate the exact seizure area of the brain.

PET (Positron Emission Tomography) -- is a scanning technique which detects chemical and physiological changes related to metabolism. It produces 3-dimensional images of blood flow, chemical reactions and muscular activity in the body as they occur. It measures the metabolism of glucose, oxygen or other substances in the brain, allowing the neurologist to study brain functions.

By measuring areas of blood flow and metabolism, the PET scan is used to locate the site from which a seizure originates. A small amount of radioactive substance is injected into the body. When this substance reaches the brain, a computer uses the recorded signals to create images of specific brain functions.

A functional image of brain activity is important because these changes are often present before structural changes occur in tissues. The information provided by the PET scan is valuable in both the diagnosis of seizure type and the evaluation of a potential candidate for surgery. PET images are capable of detecting pathological changes long before they would be made evident by other scanning techniques.

MEG (Magnetoencephalography) – this technique has been available for several decades, but it is only recently that scanners involving the whole head have been available. The brain scan is based on natural magnetic fields. Detectors are placed on the skin near the head, and then magnetic waves are used to measure brain activity.

MEG is most often used to find the precise point in the brain where the seizures start by detecting the magnetic signals generated by neurons. With these signals, doctors can monitor brain activity at different points in the brain over time, revealing different brain functions. While MEG is similar in concept to EEG, it does not require electrodes and it can detect signals from deeper in the brain than an EEG.

MEG is quite useful for pre-surgical functional mapping of the brain. It quickly provides high resolution images of the brain, used to compare function in relationship to behavior.

Doctors also are experimenting with brain scans called MRS (Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy) -- that can detect abnormalities in the brain's biochemical processes, and with near-infrared spectroscopy, a technique that can detect oxygen levels in brain tissue.

SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography) -- is primarily used to view how blood flows through arteries and veins in the brain. Tests show that it might be more sensitive to brain injury than either MRI or CT scanning because it can detect reduced blood flow to injured sites. The test can track cerebral blood flow and detect alterations in brain metabolism between and during seizures. SPECT scanning is also useful for presurgical evaluation of medically uncontrolled seizures.

The Wada Test (Intracateroid Sodium Ambobarbital Test) -- helps to identify the areas of a person’s brain that control speech and memory functions. During this pre-operative procedure, an angiogram of the brain is taken (an X-ray of the brain’s blood vessels). A drug is then injected into the patient that anesthetizes one side of the brain. The patient is asked to respond to a series of memory and speech-related tests.

From this test, the neurosurgical team can determine where the areas of the brain that control speech and memory are located, and avoid those areas during surgery.        phylisfeinerjohnson   


For years I did MRI after MRI that showed my brain to be totally healthy until one clinic recently did a different MRI that was both horizontal and vertical as well. Then they saw that my left temporal lobe was deformed, causing me all of my problems.
They won't do this until you ask, either. Press them for not only this type of a MRI but also for a SPECT test as well.
Good luck!

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