Archive for April, 2014

Collosum Schmalosum

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

We visited Maria’s neurosurgeon this week for her annual check up. Of course, we can’t have a drama-free visit, so Maria proceeded to get her fingers caught in the metal bracket that holds the paper that goes on the exam table. I mean they were really stuck, she was obviously in pain, I almost had to call someone, but I figured they’d probably do something worse than what I was trying, so finally I freed her bruised, swollen, cut fingers. The resident doc came in first and she got us some ice, which seemed to help.

Anyway, then as we were looking at the brain scan, either she said or I noticed that Maria’s brain isn’t as “fluffed up” as I recall them saying about 8 or 9 years ago. She said there is some loss in mass, which Dr Shafron confirmed was how it’s been since the cerebral-spinal fluid drained by the shunt when she was born. I guess I didn’t remember that. The other thing that apparently has always been the case, is that the back of the corpus collosum (splenium?) is small or thin or absent or something like that. He went back and confirmed this was the case. I guess they must have told me that, but I blocked it or something.

When I looked up the function of the corpus collosum, it says it is white matter, and provides communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain; transferring motor, sensory, and cognitive information. It’s involved with eye movements and tactile location; and either the splenium or the part of the brain where the splenium is located (mid-brain) is associated with hearing, motor control, vision, sleep/wake cycles, body temperature regulation.

I also read something somewhere that said if young children are exposed to music (or given music lessons?) early, like before they are 6, then the splenium grows. In musicians’ brains, this part is larger than in a typical person’s brain. Well why didn’t they mention this? We could have been pounding the music into her even more than we have been.

I’m not sure why, but all this info threw me a bit. (I’ve always been a “late bloomer” when it comes to this type of info….) Anyway, other than this, he said her scan was the same as it has been, so no need for a new scan for a couple years at least. And, he said, we’ll see you in a year, unless she has any symptoms of shunt issues. He said she has plenty of growth still in the tubing of the shunt, so I guess all-in-all, it was a good news appointment. Not sure why I’m so bummed then.