Meningitis

Breaking through the blood-brain barrier

The bacteria that sneak past the brain's defenses to cause deadly bacterial meningitis are clever adversaries. Brandon Kim would know. The biology graduate student at San Diego State University investigates the molecular ...

May 11, 2015
popularity 26 comments 0

How World War II spurred vaccine innovation

War and disease have marched arm in arm for centuries. Wars magnify the spread and severity of disease by disrupting populations. As large groups of people move across borders, they introduce and encounter ...

May 08, 2015
popularity 9 comments 0

Meningitis is inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, known collectively as the meninges. The inflammation may be caused by infection with viruses, bacteria, or other microorganisms, and less commonly by certain drugs. Meningitis can be life-threatening because of the inflammation's proximity to the brain and spinal cord; therefore the condition is classified as a medical emergency.

The most common symptoms of meningitis are headache and neck stiffness associated with fever, confusion or altered consciousness, vomiting, and an inability to tolerate light (photophobia) or loud noises (phonophobia). Sometimes, especially in small children, only nonspecific symptoms may be present, such as irritability and drowsiness. If a rash is present, it may indicate a particular cause of meningitis; for instance, meningitis caused by meningococcal bacteria may be accompanied by a characteristic rash.

A lumbar puncture may be used to diagnose or exclude meningitis. This involves inserting a needle into the spinal canal to extract a sample of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), the fluid that envelops the brain and spinal cord. The CSF is then examined in a medical laboratory. The usual treatment for meningitis is the prompt application of antibiotics and sometimes antiviral drugs. In some situations, corticosteroid drugs can also be used to prevent complications from overactive inflammation. Meningitis can lead to serious long-term consequences such as deafness, epilepsy, hydrocephalus and cognitive deficits, especially if not treated quickly. Some forms of meningitis (such as those associated with meningococci, Haemophilus influenzae type B, pneumococci or mumps virus infections) may be prevented by immunization.

This text uses material from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA

Latest Spotlight News

Cutting health care costs isn't easy

Convincing the nation's most vulnerable citizens to avoid costly emergency department visits is proving harder than expected. A new study from the University of Iowa found improving access to affordable primary ...

Pupil response predicts depression risk in kids

How much a child's pupil dilates in response to seeing an emotional image can predict his or her risk of depression over the next two years, according to new research from Binghamton University.

Organ transplant rejection may not be permanent

Rejection of transplanted organs in hosts that were previously tolerant may not be permanent, report scientists from the University of Chicago. Using a mouse model of cardiac transplantation, they found that immune tolerance ...

Can four fish oil pills a day keep the doctor away?

Fish oil is one of the most popular dietary supplements in the U.S. because of the perceived cardiovascular benefits of the omega-3 it contains. However, scientific findings on its effectiveness have been conflicting. New ...