First, I will give a little history. I am 23 years old. I began getting severe headaches, so a brain MRI was ordered. The radiologist and 2 neurosurgeons said that I had mild Arnold Chiari malformation. My symptoms progressed, so I was sent to another neurosurgeon. He said that while I do have mild Chiari, he does not think my symptoms are caused by that. He said that I have prominent atrophy of the cerebral cortex. He said that my brain looks like someone in their later stages of life.
Symptoms that progressed are headaches (occipital, frontal, temporal, retrobulbar), dizziness, numbness in my left arm (especially digits 4 &5), memory problems, extreme fatigue, and eye disturbances (blurry vision, peripheral vision problems).
What types of conditions can cause atrophy of the brain at an early age? I tested negative for Lymes Disease, MS, heavy metal poisoning. If the Chiari is the problem, and the CSF flow has been restricted, could that cause atrophy?
Sorry to hear about your symptoms. I would agree that a mild Chiari I malformation is usually not the etiology of headache. Concerning the brain atrophy, there can be many, many reasons for the atrophy. The first can be a poor diagnosis. So, I would think about getting a second opinion. Then alot would depend on when the problem occurred. If the problem occurred during the prenatal period, then you have had this problem your whole life and likely it is not progressing. If the problem developed latter, then the question is whether the atrophy is progressing or is stagnant. This would need to be investigated as there are alot of diseases that can cause atrophy. The direction of the investigation will depend alot on medical history (yours), especially developmental milestones, language usage, school performance, etc. and the MRI itself. A few labs will also help. I would see a good neurologist and begin the process of trying to figure out what caused this and whether it is progressive or not.
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