Enlargement of the Brain. Hypertrophy.
This is chiefly a disease of childhood. It consists in an unnatural growth of the brain. Sometimes the skull grows with it, and there may not be any, or only slight, symptoms of disease.
The complaint is sometimes congenital, the child being born with a head far above the natural standard of size. Sometimes a child's head, from this disease, will reach the size of an adult's by the time it is five or six years old. This is not necessarily a disease, though children that suffer from it are very apt to die finally of some affection of the brain.
Symptoms. Dullness of intellect, indifference to external objects great irritability of temper, inordinate appetite, giddiness, and an habitual headache, which at times is very severe. In addition to these, there are, at times, convulsions, epileptic fits, and idiocy. There is a peculiar projection of the parietal bones, which serves well to distinguish this disease from acute hydrocephalus.
Treatment. As far as possible, suspend and repress all exercise of the mind. Take the child from school as soon as the disease is discovered, and put it to the most active muscular exercise in the open air. The moment there is any excitement of the brain, or heat on the top of the head, apply cold water, ice, or cold evaporating lotions. If, as the child grows up, the signs of mischief increase, the diet must be simple, and carefully regulated. Bread and milk only is sometimes advisable.
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