Entries in Brain Tumor (5)


Radiology Tech Discovers Friend’s Brain Tumor

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- When John Ippolito, the lead radiology tech at Prime Diagnostic Imaging in Dallas, asked Alex Largent to help him test out some new MRI software, he didn’t expect that simple favor would save his friend’s life.

The day before Thanksgiving, Largent, a Fort Worth, Texas, e-commerce operations manager, went to Prime Diagnostic for tests on his back, because of pain he thought was brought on by childhood sports.

Ippolito asked to do a few scans using software that examined the brain’s nerve activity.  During the first scan, Ippolito said he thought he saw something -- a mass beyond Largent’s right eye.

“I didn’t want to alarm him in any way,” he said.  “I was extremely alarmed.  He was completely asymptomatic.  He didn’t have headaches.  No blurred vision.  And he’s young.  It was pretty alarming.”

He suggested that Largent, 28, a friend for 10 years, see a neuro-optomologist.  Largent did and returned to Prime Diagnostic for a more in-depth scan.

“Everything was surreal,” he said.  “They didn’t know what it was.  They just called it a mass.  It could’ve been a number of things.  A cyst.  A tumor.  I didn’t want to get too much into a panic.”

The mass, a little smaller than a golf ball, was eventually determined to be a brain tumor.

On Jan. 12, Largent had brain surgery to have the tumor removed at Medical City Dallas Hospital.

Dr. Caetano Coimbra, a neurosurgeon, operated on Largent.  He said Largent was a “very special case.”

“His tumor is in a silent area of the brain, where it’s not responsible for any critical function,” Coimbra said.

He said that even though Largent had a low-grade tumor, in 10 years, it could have grown larger, begun to press on the brain and become incredibly difficult to remove.

Largent was grateful for the discovery and said the incident made him and Ippolito closer.

“Do I say he saved my life?  Definitely,” Largent said.  “How many friends save their friend’s lives?”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Lawyer: Lawmaker Stole Leather Pants due to Brain Tumor

BananaStock/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- A San Francisco lawmaker pleaded no contest after stealing nearly $2,500 of clothing from an upscale department store and a benign brain tumor may have impaired her judgment, her lawyer says.

Democratic Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi’s lawyer says her medical condition might have played a role in her shoplifting, but her spokesman says she is not using it as an excuse, according to ABC station KGO-TV.

Hayashi, 44, was arrested in October for stealing leather pants and other articles of clothing from Neiman Marcus in Union Square. Prosecutors said before leaving the store, Hayashi took the clothes into a dressing room and stuffed them into an empty shopping bag.

Investigators say store security was tracking Hayashi after a saleswoman told guards she suspected the assemblywoman of stealing a dress the week before.

A spokesman hired by Hayashi to deal with the incident said she was going to pay for the items, but she was distracted by cell phone calls.

“She stepped outside the door, realized something was wrong, but before she had the opportunity to go back and correct her mistake, security was there,” Sam Singer told KGO-TV.

When Hayashi appeared in San Francisco Superior Court on Friday, the judge reduced the charge from felony grand theft to a misdemeanor at a prosecutor’s request. Hayashi pleaded no contest, and was given three years probation, a fine of $180 and ordered her to keep a distance of 50 feet from Neiman Marcus.

Hayashi’s lawyer, Doug Rappaport, said outside the courtroom that she suffers from a medical condition that experts say may have affected her judgment when she was caught.

But her spokesman, Singer, sent an email Friday saying Hayashi’s brain tumor “did not play a role in her forgetfulness and distraction in accidentally walking out.”

The district attorney’s office says Hayashi’s medical condition did not have an impact on the judge’s decision.

Regardless of the conflicting statements, the prosecution at the district attorney’s office says the brain tumor had nothing to do with their decision to change the felony to a misdemeanor. They say she is a first-time offender with no priors and that she admitted her guilt early on.

“Her condition never factored into our decision,” Stephanie Ong Stillman, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, told Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

District Attorney George Gascon said at a press conference before the hearing that his office would accept the judge’s decision.

“She is a first-time offender. She has no criminal record. So while what she did is inexcusable and she needs to be held accountable for her actions, I think it’s appropriate to examine and explore all the different possibilities,” Gascon said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Innovative Surgery Helps a Young Girl Take Back Her Smile

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Caitlin Cowen, 19, of Phibodeaux, La., laughed as she talked about majoring in mass communications. Her laugh signaled so much about her enthusiasm, especially since two years ago, Cowen couldn't even smile.

"A smile was a simple form of communication," said Cowen, a sophomore at Louisiana's Nicholls State University. "I felt like if I was happy, I couldn't show it. So it meant that I wasn't really happy."

In 2008, Cowen suffered partial paralysis after undergoing surgery to remove a tumor from the right side of her brain stem. Cowen was bound to a wheelchair for months as she worked to regain strength and overcome paralysis on the left side of her body, paralysis that made it impossible for Cowen to move the muscles that would allow her to smile.

But a year later, Cowen underwent an innovative surgery at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston -- called free gracilis transfer -- to restore muscle movement to her face.

In two procedures, surgeons took nerve and muscle tissue from Cowen's thigh and implanted it into the paralyzed side of her face.

While surgeons have used free gracilis transfer for more than a decade, it was considered arduous and could take up to 12 hours, according to Dr. Mack Cheney, a professor of facial reconstructive surgery at Harvard Medical School, and one of Cowen's doctors.

But free gracilis transfer has advanced so dramatically in the past five years that it should be considered first-line therapy for children who have facial paralysis, according to a paper released Monday in the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, which Cheney co-wrote.

Free gracilis transfer works for patients who are born with facial paralysis, as well as for those who have endured brain tumors or other traumas that have caused paralysis, said Cheney, who oversees about four of these procedures each month.

Cheney said that facial paralysis is emotionally hardest for patients like Cowen, who once had normal facial function.

"The ability to communicate and understand emotional signals go away, which is different from patients who never had that facial function to begin with," he said. "When you lose it, you feel the difference."

But a few months after Cowen's second surgery, nearly two years after the brain stem surgery that left her partially paralyzed, Cowen could smile again.

In March, Cowen was crowned queen of her sorority's mardi gras dance. And in each of her photos, she was all smiles.

"Every time I see myself smile, I think it's awesome," said Cowen. "I think I appreciate it more."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Allergy Sufferers Less Likely to Develop Deadly Brain Tumor

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Suffering from allergies may make you less susceptible to a far more serious condition, reports HealthDay News.

New research suggests that those who suffer from allergies are less likely to develop a malignant gliomas brain tumor -- the same type that killed Sen. Edward Kennedy -- because the immune system in people who suffer from allergies is on high alert.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, found that those with the tumors were more likely to not have allergies and the more allergies an individual had, the less likely they were to have gliomas.

Gliomas brain tumors are a the most common adult brain tumor, making up more than half of all malignant tumors diagnosed each year in the U.S.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Medication Shrinks Brain Tumors; Could Keep Thousands Out of OR

Photo Courtesy- Getty Images(CINCINNATI) -- A new experimental drug proven to shrink the size of brain tumors could save patients a trip to the operating room, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine

Everolimus, an immune-suppressing drug, was tested at a clinical trial at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.  The study of 28 patients found that tumors shrank by at least 30 percent in 21 of the patients and by at least 50 percent in nine patients.

The most marked and fastest shrinkage occurred in the first three months of treatment, but the effects were sustained.  Dr. David Neal Franz, senior author of the study and professor of pediatrics and neurology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, said 75 percent of patients saw their tumors reduced by at least 30 percent in volume, and all participants had some response to the drug.

Such striking results from the study, funded by the drug manufacturer Novartis, led the FDA Saturday to grant fast-track approval to everolimus, which will be marketed as Afinitor, as an alternative to surgery for patients with tuberous sclerosis, a genetic disease that causes tumors to grow.  It's the first-ever approved treatment for the disorder.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio