Craniopharyngioma, or Rathke's pouch, is a congenital tumor of the brain. It is thought to arise from cells which exist at the junction of the pituitary gland and the pituitary stalk. The tumor may occur anywhere between the pituitary fossa and the ventricular system of the brain. Since the nerves to the eyes pass by this area, they often become affected. The tumors may also obstruct the flow of spinal fluid and produce hydrocephalus.
Causes of Craniopharyngioma
Craniopharyngiomas are thought to develop from cells just above the pituitary gland that gradually replicate and enlarge.
Signs and Symptoms of Craniopharyngioma
The symptoms vary depending on the age of onset. In children, obesity, delayed development, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and visual problems are the most common features. In adults, loss of sexual interest and irregular menstrual periods occur. Headache, poor vision, confusion, and decreased intellectual function may occur. As the process worsens, drowsiness may occur, there may be excessive urine output and constant thirst and abnormalities of temperature control.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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