Death from cerebral edema

A new study showed that when childrendie from severe malaria, often the cause of their death is cerebral edema. Understanding this will not immediately change the medical practice, but researchers say that this can lead to better treatment, reports

Disease caused by a parasite and transmittedmosquitoes, is the leading cause of death in the tropics. In 2013, around 198 million cases were reported worldwide, of which 500,000 people, mostly children from Africa, were killed. Because of the lack of a vaccine. Medications can prevent infection and heal it, but malaria can still be fatal even with treatment, especially in young children.

Cerebral malaria, which affects the brain,is an extremely dangerous form of the disease and can lead to coma and death. From fifteen to twenty-five percent of African children who have been in contact with this type of malaria, they die. Survivors may remain deaf, blind or with limited learning opportunities.

Doctors suspected that edema of the brain played a key role in cases with a fatal outcome, but no clear evidence was found.

In the hope of solving the problem, researchers in Malawi made an MRI scan of 168 children diagnosed with cerebral malaria. The results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Twenty-five children died, 21 of whom (84%) had a serious cerebral edema. Among the survivors, only 27% of children had severe edema.

"Children are killed by the fact that they stop breathing,because the tumor on the respiratory center of the brain stem. " "Says Dr. Terry E. Taylor, a senior author of the study and a professor at the Michigan State College of Osteopathic Medicine. Every year she works in Malawi for about six months.

"Artificial ventilation can savesome children, supporting their breathing during the swelling of the brain, which usually lasts for several days. But in Africa this procedure is not available everywhere. " She says.

Some drugs, including steroids and mannitol, can also help with brain edema, but further research is needed to find out more and more.