-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- Removal of a rare type of
benign brain tumor helped bring a young girl's compulsive eating
under control, doctors report.
The 10-year-old had what's known as a hypothalamic hamartoma --
a tumor in or around the brain's hypothalamus. One of the symptoms
of this type of tumor is extremely early (precocious) puberty, as
well as compulsive eating and excessive weight gain.
As reported online April 9 in the
Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics, by age 10 the girl
already weighed 227 pounds and was gaining an average of five more
pounds each month. Medication and counseling did nothing to curb
Despite the fact that there was no record of it having been done
before, neurosurgeons at the University of Texas-Houston and
Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston decided to remove
the girl's hypothalamic hamartoma in an effort to curb her
overeating. The doctors called it a "last-ditch effort."
"The decision to proceed with this surgery was undertaken with great thought and after numerous discussions with the patient's family," Dr. David Sandberg, one of the study authors, said in a journal news release. "We were cautious about proceeding with a major operation in which the probability of success was completely unknown."
However, the surgery went well, the girl's appetite immediately
lessened and she began eating smaller portions. Eighteen months
after the surgery, her weight was still the same as it was before
the operation. But it no longer increased, which was the goal of
"The patient, her family, and treating physicians were all delighted with the outcome," Sandberg said.
You can find out more about this type of brain tumor at
Hope for Hypothalamic Hamartomas.
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