Cerebritis is an inflammation of the cerebrum, a structure within the brain that performs many important functions, including most of the things that people associate with being human, such as memory and speech. People who have cerebritis can experience symptoms such as slurred speech, confusion, nausea and dizziness. Visual disturbances, mood changes and memory problems also are common symptoms. Inflammation of the cerebrum requires treatment because it can result in damage to the brain, which might lead to impairments for the patient.
This condition might be the result of an infection caused by bacteria, viruses or other organisms. Infections can occur when infectious agents enter the brain through the sinuses or as a result of trauma. Some pathogens are also capable of passing over the blood-brain barrier and entering the brain through the bloodstream even though the body has evolved defenses that are specifically designed to prevent this.
Another cause of cerebritis is lupus, in which the body's immune system goes haywire and starts to attack the body. Many lupus patients develop vasculitis, an inflammation of the blood vessels, which can occur in the brain. Sometimes, other autoimmune disorders can also lead to cerebritis. This condition is a recognized risk for people who have lupus, and those who develop neurological symptoms usually are encouraged to seek prompt treatment so that medical intervention can occur in a timely fashion.
In the beginning, cerebritis usually involves clogging of the blood vessels and swelling of the brain's tissues. If the inflammation is allowed to persist, necrosis can start to set in because parts of the brain are cut off from their blood supply. In the case of an infection, an abscess might develop, and the infection can spread to areas of the brain that were not originally affected by cerebritis.
A neurologist can evaluate a patient who has suspicious symptoms and order medical imaging studies of the head to see whether they provide insight into what might be happening inside the brain. If the studies reveal cerebritis, the doctor can prescribe treatments based on the cause and the patient's medical history. For infections, it is necessary to kill the organisms causing the infection. When inflammation is present, steroids can be used to bring down the swelling. If the swelling appears to have increased to a dangerous level, surgery might be needed to relieve pressure on the brain. The formation of an abscess also calls for surgery because it will be necessary to drain the abscess.