Encephalomalacia is a kind of disease which affects all the age groups and causes damage to the brain. Generally, it is caused by a serious accident or injury or sometimes even due to infection and it affects your brain directly.

In this article, you will be reading about all the essentials which you should know about this disease so that you can identify it and can even prevent it.

How Encephalomalacia affects the body?

This generally occurs in a particular part of the brain and in some rare cases, it can also affect other parts of the brain. This disease should be identified on time else, it can damage the brain tissue to a great extent. The parts of the brain which are mostly affected by this disease include frontal lobe, occipital lobe, parietal lobe, and temporal lobe.

Types of Encephalomalacia

The disease can be divided into two types, according to the parts it affects:

  • Polioencephalomalacia: It affects the grey matter of the human brain and the normal functioning of the body by reducing speech coordination, muscle control, memory, sensory perception, and emotions.
  • Leukoencephalomalacia: The type of Encephalomalacia which affects the human brain’s white matter is covered under this heading. It generally affects the nervous system of the brain and hinders many body activities.

On the basis of the advancement of the disease in softening the cerebral comma, this disease can be divided into three categories, according to the color changes in each stage and the severity of its damage caused,

  • Red softening: This situation occurs when the oxygen supply to the brain tissues is hindered and the tissues eventually get damaged. Technically, this situation is known as a hemorrhagic infarct. This condition also happens because of the blockage in the blood vessels of the body, which further results in clotting of the blood, bubble gas or even entry of foreign materials in your blood.
  • Yellow softening: In this kind of situation, the color of the brain tissues turns yellow and also become soft due to an atherosclerotic plaque. This condition directly affects the arteries present in your brain and the brain tissues start turning yellow.
  • White softening: This is a very serious situation because in this case, the flow of the blood either does not reaches the brain or become insufficient. The neuronal tissues present in the brain start getting damaged due to the lack of blood flow and there are several causes, which we are going to discuss in the next part of our article.

Causes of Encephalomalacia

Our brain is one of the most important organs of our body and without it; we cannot control any part of our body. A disease like Encephalomalacia is a very serious disease because it affects our brain and can eventually make it stop working, which can be a life-threatening situation.

Some of the causes of this serious disease are mentioned below:

  • Stroke: Stroke is one of the most common causes of any disease which is related to the brain. It can be caused by any kind of major head injury or even a brain hemorrhage. This can cause internal bleeding in the brain without you even knowing it.
  • Abnormal Accumulation of Blood: The main cause of the softening of the cerebral is due to the insufficiency or no trace of blood in the brain. There can be many reasons which can cause the insufficient flow of blood and some of them are
  • Major swelling in the brain which hinders the path of blood flow to cerebral.
  • Tissue damage inside the brain, after the removal of a brain tumor.
  • Scar tissue: In some cases, due to a stroke, a certain part of the brain can die, which causes the substitution of neurons by another tissue, which is called scar tissues. Scar tissue goes through contraction and can eventually lead to softening of the cerebral.
  • Severe brain injury: Many outer mechanical forces can affect the functioning of the brain which can lead to many problems. When the foreign objects hit the skull and enter it, this violent and serious accident can cause huge damage to the cerebral which can lead to its softening.

Some other causes: Other than these there are many more causes for this disease:

  • Degeneration and deterioration of the brain can lead to a serious problem.
  • Stroke or any kind of infection inside cerebral.
  • Blockage in the blood vessels can hinder the supply of blood to the brain.
  • There is a kind of mini-stroke, called cerebral ischemia, which can lead to blockage of the blood supply to the brain and also leads to the deficiency of metabolism.
  • There are certain types of infections which generally occur from a foreign chemical reaction in your body, which can lead to spreading of biological pathogens and further softening of tissues.

Symptoms of Encephalomalacia

With a serious disease like this, you need to take care of any kind of signs or symptoms so that you can save yourself from the very beginning. Cerebral softening can give you various signs and symptoms, which can vary with the severity of the damage caused in your brain.

The most affected part of the brain is the main cerebral tissue which can lead to dysfunction of various parts of the brain which may affect its working.

The symptoms of cerebral softening can vary from person to person, depending on its age and medical history and also the severity of the problem. Therefore, there are unique symptoms for every problem and if you face any one of these symptoms, you may need a serious medical help to avoid the further damage.

The symptoms are as follows:

  • Severe headaches in short intervals.
  • Dysfunction of the brain and other coordination activities which can even lead to clumsiness and is sometimes called ataxia.
  • It can lead to drowsiness throughout the day and the feeling of need to sleep throughout the day also called somnolence.
  • A temporary problem in vision, such as blindness or even permanent visual impairment problems.
  • Severe pressing of the head.
  • The regular spinning of the head which is also called Vertigo.
  • Problems in memory or even loss of memory sometimes resulted due to frontal lobe impact.
  • Mood swings and very short intervals caused due to damage in the frontal lobe.
  • Expected terminal coma.

These were some of the common symptoms which are generally seen, but as we have mentioned earlier the symptoms and signs can vary from person to person according to the severity of the problem. Therefore, if you see any kind of abnormality in the functioning of the brain, you should seek medical help as soon as possible.

Diagnosis of Encephalomalacia

There are generally two best methods to diagnose this disease:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): It is a kind of a diagnostic test in which the images of the brain are released, which can give clear information about the condition of the brain. This diagnostic system can even show if there is any kind of softening in the cerebral and the particular part where it lies.
  • CT scan: CT scan also known as Computed Topography helps us in determining the exact time when the damage started happening and the softening of the cerebral actually began. CT Scan can also indicate the further problems:
    • The volume of the loss of tissue due to the softening of cerebral.
    • If the condition is also happening in the other parts of the brain.
    • Presence of Gliosis.

Treatment of Encephalomalacia

The destruction of the brain tissue is a serious problem as, there is no cure for the cerebral softening but as the medical field is advancing, researchers are trying to find ways by which normal functioning can be resumed. A treatment called, Stem Cell Therapy is used in providing the multiplication of cells present in the affected area but the research is still in progress.

Prognosis of Encephalomalacia

Every medical problem has a certain cure, but a lot of research is required to gather some solutions. Diseases like Encephalomalacia is a serious disease and can lead to the death of the person.

In such cases, you always need to know the limited life expectancy of the person affected so that you can let the individual spend the remaining time happily with friends and family.

It is very difficult to save a person from this disease and the life expectancy can also vary according to the age group of the person. It is very difficult to save an infant affected by this disease in any condition. Moreover, infants which are born with this problem are expected not to live a normal life and are expected to die in the beginning years of their life itself.

All the adults affected by this disease have a better expectancy of getting a cure but ultimately, it depends on the severity of the problem and also the age group of the person. There are very few cases when the person suffering from this severe disease is saved to live a long life.


What is Encephalomalacia in the brain?

Encephalomalacia refers to the softening or loss of brain tissue post cerebral ischemia, cerebral infarction, craniocerebral trauma, infection, or other injuries.

How softening of the brain is caused?

There are different causes of encephalomalacia. Cerebral infarction is one of the common causes which is often referred as a stroke. It occurs due to a hemorrhage or blood clot in one of the brain’s blood vessels blocks the flow of oxygen to brain tissue. This gradually leads to cerebral softening.

Can encephalomalacia be cured with surgery?

Yes, for encephalomalacia (softening of brain tissue), one can proceed with the back surgery as that might lead to a positive consequence.

It is always better to check on all the symptoms and ask for medical help, as soon as you discover that any symptoms of this disease have started affecting life.

Last updated on May 9th, 2018 at 8:45 am

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