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Stressed, sleeplessness. Previously had colitis. WBC has spiked. Viral infection or stroke?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 2007
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My brother, age 32 suffered what appeared to be a stroke 14 days ago. Prior to stroke he hadn't slept in 5 days and was dealing with an inordinate amount of stress. The doctors are saying that they are not sure it is stroke and thought maybe it was a viral infection due to the results of the mri. They conducted all immune tests, hiv, etc. They conducted 2 spinal taps for viruses and all came back negative. They are saying viral and mentioning stuff like mad cow's disease? and want himto go for a brain biopsy. Is this crazy for what me and my family looks like a stroke?
(Also he previously had colitis and was on pretazone. They will not give him pretazone because he is already on decadron, for swelling, a steroid in itself. His colitis flared up and now his white blood count has spiked, but they are not attributing that to his flare up rather to infection.)
Posted Fri, 13 Apr 2012 in Stroke
Answered by Dr. Kiran Kumar 4 hours later

Thanks for your query.

Stroke means damage to brain which leads to weakness of either of the part of body. Stroke can be due to Blockage in Arteries of brain. Some strokes can be due to infection of the brain as well.

Well I must tell you that MRI scan can show to some extent presence of infection. However, its sometimes difficult to find out the exact cause of the infection.

Bacterial and Tuberculosis infections of brain are typical and usually not missed. Its viral which are usually elusive and difficult to diagnose and treat.

Spinal tap and CSF examination might pick up infection; but not in all cases.

I his case, its appears to be viral. However, the exact diagnosis is not certain.

The increase in WBC counts can be due to infection or due to flare up of colitis. Since he is already on Decadron, there is nothing to worry from falre up point of view. However, if its infection, its needs antibiotics as it can be equally or more XXXXXXX that flare up..

In my opinion, in such clinical situation, we treat based on MRI findings with broad spectrum antibiotics and antivirals..

Brain biopsy may be of help in diagnosis and prognosis; treatment however might remain the same.

Hope this answers your query.

Thanks and Regards

Dr Kiran
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Stressed, sleeplessness. Previously had colitis. WBC has spiked. Viral infection or stroke? 1 hour later
what does a cloudiness in the mri indicate, infection or stroke

thanks XXXXXXX
Answered by Dr. Kiran Kumar 1 hour later

Cloudiness in MRI suggests white matter changes. It means there is response of the brain to some form of infection. Stroke usually would be in form of focal lesion in are supplied by the involved artery.

Take care

Dr Kiran
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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