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Gangliocytoma and strange behavior?
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Gangliocytoma and strange behavior?

My father disappeared a year before he died. He left the country and chose to live homeless without telling anyone he was going. This caused much distress for his family and friends. Interpol tracked down my stepsister after his death and I dealt with the coroner to get as much information as I could. In addition to pneumonia and heart disease (which were the causes of death) the autopsy showed a two centimetre Grade II Gangliocytoma in the third ventricle. There is little information about this condition on the internet (or little that I can understand) but it appears to be extremely rare - especially in a man in his 60s. I wonder if anyone could tell me what could have caused this kind of brain tumour, whether it's hereditary, how long he would have had it, and especially whether it could have caused his unusual behavior in that he left his home behind and simply disappeared without reason. This has been difficult to come to terms with and it would be nice to know a little more about this brain tumour. As he was an alcoholic and not taking care of himself when he died, I don't even know if he had been to a doctor or what symptoms he may have had. Thanks very much
Avatar_dr_m_tn
Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with a doctor.

Without the ability to examine and obtain a history, I cannot tell you what the exact cause of the symptoms is. However I will try to provide you with some useful information.

I am sorry to hear about the rough times your father and your family had to go through.

You are right in saying that Gangliocytomas are quite rare. The location you mention is the third ventricle. I am not sure where it was arising from though. Dysplastic gangliocytomas are known to arise from the cerebellum (part of the brain involved in motor coordination and balance) which is near the third ventricle.

There is a clinical entity known as Lhermitte–Duclos disease characterized by a slowly progressive unilateral dysplastic gangliocytomas of  the cerebellar cortex. Most often presents in the third to fourth decades of life. Cranial nerve palsies (facial droop, slurred speech, gaze palsies etc), unsteadiness of gait, and sudden neurological deterioration as a result of occlusive hydrocephalus are frequent signs and symptoms. Associations with other congenital malformations, such as megalencephaly (brain is abnormally large), polydactylia (extra fingers), multiple haemangioma and skull abnormalities are common. I am not sure if your father had any of these other extra features

It is difficult to say whether this tumor had anything to with your father’s personality change though. It is known that tumors which sit near the third ventricle can be asymptomatic especially if they are slow growing. Once they start obstructing the ventricle and obstructing cerebrospinal fluid flow do they present with symptoms.

Several other things could cause personality changes like rapidly progressive dementias, paraneoplastic conditions, excessive alcohol (although I don’t know whether he used to drink prior to personality change or not). Without the full history of symptoms, it would be difficult to give you an answer but I hope I have provided you with some useful information
Thank you for this opportunity to answer your questions, I hope you find the information I have provided useful, good luck.
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