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Tags: white matter disorder | disease | brain | mental illness | neurology

What Are White Matter Disorders?

Wednesday, 08 January 2014 09:17 AM EST

The brain consists of white matter and gray matter. While gray matter of the brain contains nerve cells, the brain’s white matter contains nerve fibers and myelin. Nerve fibers connect nerve cells and myelin covers these nerve fibers. Myelin is responsible for conducting impulses in the brain. It also helps in insulation, which prevents short-circuiting.
Damage of myelin can cause a loss of brain functions. Behavioral neurology of white matter has recently come under medical review. Gray matter disease had previously been a dominating concern within behavioral neurology, but white matter disorders are also now emerging as a common issue in behavioral neurology.
Mental illness can be of different types. After detection of the mental illness, further tests are performed to determine the causes. White matter disorders, also called white matter diseases, can be caused due to a variety of reasons including autoimmune disease. White matter disorders vary depending on the location of the damage or severity of the disease. Patients should consult a neurologist for diagnosing their specific type of white matter disorder.
White matter disorders may sometimes be the result of a genetic variation. Infection, stroke, and head injury may also cause white matter disease, along with age-related degeneration. Research studies suggest that the white matter of the brain may be related to mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder. Various tools and advanced techniques are available to detect mental illness and the location of white matter disorders in the brain. 
Any disease involving the white matter is called a white matter disorder. In these disorders, a range of diseases occurs — but these are all caused due to a lack of white matter surrounding the nerve fibers in the brain. A mental illness can occur at any stage from childhood to late life. White matter disorders are diagnosed with the help of an MRI.
Medications and physical therapy are used to treat the mental illness. To prevent progressive mental illness from damaging brain functioning, a prevention plan to deal with the mental illness is vital. 
How Do White Matter Disorders Occur?
White matter disorders can occur due to a lack of myelin or white matter as the body may not be producing it in a sufficient amount. Or, myelin may be produced, but may be broken or lost after production. Another reason may be the formation of innumerable vacuoles in the white matter sheath. Formation of scar tissue may also cause white matter disorders. Loss of nerve fibers or excessive amount of water in the fibers may be other reasons.
White matter disorders comprise of different types of diseases that affect brain functioning. Depending on the effects of various agents on the tissue inside the brain, white matter disorders can vary. As a caution, this mental illness may worsen over time. Some disorders may result into progressive disease that may can result in handicaps or even be fatal for the patient, hence, medical help and intervention is necessary.

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White matter disorders occur due to the lack of white matter in the brain. This disease or mental illness is found to be important in behavioral neurology.
white matter disorder,disease,brain,mental illness,neurology
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 09:17 AM
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