The Diagnosis of Brain Tumors

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The purpose of this paper is to describe briefly the history and physical findings in a few of the more common types of intracranial tumors, namely the gliomas, the meningiomas, the pituitary and the acoustic tumors. Strictly speaking, the glioma is the only true brain tumor, that is, it is the only tumor arising from the brain tissue proper. The meningioma arises from the membranes covering the brain, the pituitary tumor arises from epithelial cells of the anterior lobe of the hypophysis and the acoustic tumor arises from the sheath of the eighth cranial nerve. The glioma, or true brain tumor, however, does not arise from the functioning nervous elements of the brain but from the supporting or glial tissue from which it derives its name. The glioma therefore may be compared to the sarcoma arising from connective tissue. There are four commonly encountered types of gliomas classified according to cell morphology and some twelve more or less common types.

The neurological surgeon is no longer content to diagnose and correctly localize an intracranial tumor, but, with increasing knowledge of the life history of the various types of tumors, he attempts to predict the exact histological structure in each case as it confronts him. It is not merely to satisfy his vanity that the surgeon thus attempts to foretell the histological structure of the tumor with which he is about to deal. This foreknowledge permits him to plan his operative approach more satisfactorily and to deal with the neoplasm more. . .



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