Doctors have discovered a man with an empty space where part of his brain should be
It's a fact that the human body is a very strange and delicate instrument, and it doesn't always work exactly right. Over the years, in the history of medicine, all kinds of strange and unpredictable things have occurred to ordinary people which have marked them out as something extraordinary.Just think of someone like the Elephant Man, whose medical condition left him grotesquely deformed and disabled, and who fascinated physicians and the general public throughout his own lifetime.
But recently doctors were stunned by a modern marvel, after a man was admitted to hospital who turned out to have a large empty space inside his skull: an empty space which should rightfully have been taken up by grey matter.
According to a case report published in the British Medical Journal entitled "The Man That Lost (part of) His Mind" an elderly man was admitted to accident and emergency in a hospital in Northern Ireland, complaining that his left arm was unusually weak. The 84-year-old didn’t smoke or drink much, but was experiencing vertigo, and was having difficulty keeping his balance and was falling over constantly. The doctors on call at the time decided to conduct a routine CAT scan to see what was wrong. They were then shocked to discover that the man had a large air pocket inside his skull where part of his brain was supposed to be.
Dr. Finlay Brown, a general practitioner trainee in Belfast on call at the hospital at the time of the admission stated: "We immediately realised there was something significantly abnormal about the images, even before our specialist radiology team had given us the formal report ... We thought that this was a pocket of air but were not sure how it had got there!"
The patient was suffering from something called "ethmoidal osteoma,” - a slow-growing bone growth which had first appeared in his sinuses. It had gotten bigger and bigger until it eventually eroded through the base of his skull cavity, and pushed into his brain. This growth then allowed air to enter the skull, where it became trapped. This then caused a build-up of air under pressure, which led to the brain being pushed aside to make room. The gradual built-up of pressure might have then caused the man to suffer a minor stroke due to lack of blood flow to that area of his brain.
The doctors then placed the patient on medication to prevent more strokes in the future. He declined surgery to decompress the air pocket and to remove the bone growth from his sinus. But apparently the weakness on his left side is not longer an issue for him. Man, just thinking about all this makes me feel paranoid. I think I might need to book an appointment to get my own head examined.