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Brain Calcification – What is That?


A BrainA little pressure emanating from the right side of my head along with numbness on the right side of my face finally made me pay a visit to the doctor.  I’m a healthy middle aged woman with little to no health issues (aside from the normal need to place the morning newspaper in the neighbor’s yard in order to read the print if I lose my reading glasses).

My Symptoms

The pressure started behind my right ear.  I noticed it most when I put my glasses on.  It didn’t hurt, just annoying.  Over the next 5 or 6 months the pressure and sort of a numb sensation spread over the upper right quadrant of my head.  Let me reiterate, I’m not in pain.  It’s just a weird feeling.

Twenty Year Annual Checkup

This odd sensation ( and my daughter’s nagging) caused me to finally schedule my annual checkup (after 20 years).  I don’t do doctors often at all.  My daughter nags me because I’m always cold and she got tired of watching me wear my entire wardrobe around the house (yes hat included).  The odd sensation and odd behavior required medical intervention.

Precautionary Measure

During the checkup, it was agreed that the old gal is in great shape.  All of my numbers are fine (blood pressure, cholesterol, etc., etc).  However, as a precautionary measure, the doctor recommended a CAT scan in an attempt to find the cause of my head pressure.

Your Brain is Normal…EXCEPT…

The CAT scan results came back and everything seems normal.  The CAT scan didn’t reveal why I’m having the odd sensations.  Then the doctor’s office said “Everything is normal, except…”  Woah Except???

What do you mean it’s normal…except…  “The CAT scan showed a small calcium deposit in your brain.”   Wha???  Calcium deposit in my brain?  What the?!

Medical CommunityThe doctor’s office assured me there was nothing to be concerned about.  It’s a normal sign of aging.  However, if I wanted to check it out just to be sure, I can undergo an MRI.  Hmmm, let me think about this for 1 millisecond.  Do I want an MRI?  Your darned Skippy I want an MRI.

Rock Head and the Medical Community

Now I have to wait while the doctors and the insurance companies talk nice to each other so that I can get approved to undergo an MRI.  In the meanwhile, I’m starting my research on calcium deposits in the brain, what causes them and how to get rid of them (non invasively, of course).

While I’m in the process of researching, I decided to have a glass of wine to toast to the new intracranial addition to the family.  Now when I cook dinner, I use Dwayne Johnson’s (aka The Rock) famous wrestling phrase  “Can you smell…what The Rock is cooking?”


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About the author: Felicia is a freelance writer who loves to find simple, natural ways to improve her health and the health of those around her.

Categories: Aging,, Brain Function

{ 24 comments… add one }

  • Robin June 28, 2012, 6:34 pm

    I am 34 years of age and I was told I have fibromyalagia and cfs about 10 years ago.I have been suffering with pain thru- out my body and tingling in my face. Recently I went to the neuro doctor and spoke with him about my fibro but at that time my symptoms were getting worse. I explained to him that tumors in the brain run in my family. I asked him to run a scan on my brain.. The scan came up of haiving hypersentive spots on my brain. He was not sure and not to concern… The doctor told me that he wanted to just watch it.. Now I just become across a new symptom about 1 year later.. I cant lift my right leg when lying down, dizzy all the time, tired and confused. I went back and did I a Ct scan .. My family pysican called back and stated their is calcium buld up in areas of brain.. they are sending it to my neuro doctor.. waiting back for what my doctor says.. but I would like to know does hypersentive areas of the brain mean the same thing as calcium build up?

    • Felicia June 29, 2012, 6:31 am

      Robin, unfortunately I cannot answer your question. I’m no expert in this area.

    • Stew July 1, 2012, 1:57 pm

      Robin,
      Sorry to hear about your problem. I will offer up a few ideas for you to check out.
      Calcification
      There is a way that could slow it down and possibly reverse it. It involves vitamin K2 (menaquinone), look up matrix gla protein (MGP), calcification and vitamin K2 (menaquinone). Please see the references in my earlier posts. A recent study on the effect of K2 on arterial hardening in humans has shown that K2 reverses arterial hardening; however it hasn’t yet been published.
      Fibromyalgia – Mitochondrial Link?
      There are some studies looking at fibromyalgia and a possible link to mitochondria [1]. Another recent paper on fibromyalgia refers to mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress. The authors speculate about coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone) deficiency [2]. The authors then carried out a small trial which indicated that Q10 supplementation benefit people suffering from fibromyalgia. Q10 supplementation increase the level of Q10 to that of people who didn’t have fibromyalgia and it reduced the symptoms of fibromyalgia [3].
      This is an interesting post on a doctor’s web site about fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Again the idea of mitochondrial problems is raised [4]. The author has also published a paper on CFS which looks at mitochondria dysfunction and CFS [5].
      Regarding oxidative stress, both Q10 (ubiquinone) and K2 (menaquinone) act as anti oxidants, though a study last year indicated that menaquinone helps ensure that the ubiquinone is in an anti oxidant state [6].
      Interestingly there was a recent study looking at Parkinson’s disease and mitochondria which indicated that vitamin K2 could improve the performance of mitochondria [7].
      Vitamin K2 (menaquinone) has been used by living creatures for billions of years. It is essential for health; however it has only been in the last decade or so that the full extent of vitamin Ks involvement in health issues is becoming apparent. Vitamin K2 is definitely beneficial for bone health, and it looks like it is vital for cardiovascular health. It is also linked to less diabetes, cancer, osteoarthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. An important question is whether we are getting enough vitamin K (especially the K2 form) in our modern diet.
      I have mainly been researching effects of menaquinone on human health; however the indication that people with fibromyalgia have low levels of Q10 is interesting [3]. Please look up the possible benefits of vitamin K2 (menaquinone) and also Q10 (ubiquinone). Both look like they are beneficial for mitochondrial health.

      Best Wishes
      Stew

      [1] Beyond the serotonin hypothesis: mitochondria, inflammation and neurodegeneration in major depression and affective spectrum disorders. 2011
      Gardner A, Boles RG.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20691744

      [2] Oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction in fibromyalgia. 2010
      Cordero MD, de Miguel M, Carmona-López I, Bonal P, Campa F, Moreno-Fernández AM.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20424583

      [3] Oxidative Stress Correlates with Headache Symptoms in Fibromyalgia: Coenzyme Q10 Effect on Clinical Improvement 2012
      Mario D. Cordero1,2*, Francisco Javier Cano-García3, Elísabet Alcocer-Gómez3, Manuel De Miguel2, José Antonio Sánchez-Alcázar1
      http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0035677

      [4] Fibromyalgia – possible causes and implications for treatment
      http://drmyhill.co.uk/wiki/Fibromyalgia_-_possible_causes_and_implications_for_treatment

      [5] Chronic fatigue syndrome and mitochondrial dysfunction
      Sarah Myhill,1 Norman E. Booth,2 and John McLaren-Howard3
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2680051/

      [6] Human Vitamin K 2,3-Epoxide Reductase Complex Subunit 1-like 1 (VKORC1L1) Mediates Vitamin K-dependent Intracellular Antioxidant Function 2011
      Philipp Westhofen‡,1, Matthias Watzka‡,1, Milka Marinova‡, Moritz Hass‡, Gregor Kirfel§, Jens Müller‡, Carville G. Bevans‡, Clemens R. Müller¶ and Johannes Oldenburg‡,2
      http://www.jbc.org/content/286/17/15085.short

      [7] Vitamin K2: New Hope for Parkinson’s Patients? 2012
      ScienceDaily (May 11, 2012)
      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120511101240.htm

  • Glenna May 17, 2012, 11:04 pm

    Hi,i just wanted to say that my 17 yr ok old daughter has 2 calcification spots in her brain which is really wierd and scary because shes so young so I don’t think it had much to do with age.Her doc. Said not to worry also but how can you not? Not sure what to do now.

    • Felicia May 18, 2012, 12:00 am

      I’m no expert on brain calcification. Having calcium deposits in my own brain doesn’t make me qualified to give advice. However, it is my belief that our dietary habits and environment play a large roll in our brain makeup.

      After being diagnosed with the calcium deposits, I haven’t changed a thing. I make it a practice to eat healthy, exercise and enjoy my life. My brain capacity and function has not declined. I’m not suffering from pain or ill health. And if the MRI hand not shown the calcium deposits I wouldn’t have known.

      I don’t know how old my deposits are or when they formed. As a parent, it’s a bit alarming to find that your child has calcium deposits on the brain, but I’ve got a gut feeling that most of us have such deposits.

      I don’t always agree with doctors, but in this case, I’m leaning towards the “it’s nothing to worry about” philosophy.

  • Stew March 15, 2012, 8:25 pm

    Hi Ashley,
    Firstly I would imagine that your headaches are due to the sinus infection, I once had sinusitis and it isn’t very nice, fortunately a dose of antibiotics cured it.
    Regarding the calcification I would tend to agree with your doctor in that you shouldn’t worry too much. Calcification in tends to effect older people much more and calcification in the arteries and the joints is a major problem.

    A recent study looking at slowing down/halting/reversing calcification in arteries has been completed using vitamin K2. The rumor is that it has been successful, though how successful I don’t know yet. Hopefully we will find out in the next few months.

    Best Wishes
    Stew

  • ashley jones February 4, 2012, 9:11 am

    Hi my name is ashley i have 3 yr old and exspecting amother. i started having headaches so went to doctor and had ct scan which showed i had a sinus infection and said there was nothing wrong with my brain but some clacification around it. She said not to worry to much but to get mri. Saw a specialist who didnt seem to think is to serious and thinks tingling of scalp is from headaches. Now awaiting testing. Im just scared i guess.

    • Felicia February 29, 2012, 9:23 am

      Sorry for taking so long to approve your post. Sometimes posts get caught in my spam folder.

      I hope things turn out well for you.

  • amber holman August 9, 2011, 3:01 am

    Thankyou very much Stew i really appreciate the advice and plan on using it……

  • Stew August 3, 2011, 7:33 pm

    Amber, Please read up on vitamin k2, matrix gla protein and calcification. The evidence suggests that if you want to avoid issues with calcification then an adequate intake of vitamin K2 is vital.
    There is increasing interest in the scientific world in vitamin K and the vitamin K dependent proteins. It looks like many illnesses are linked to the lack of vitamin K. ie
    Cardiovascular disease
    Diabetes
    Cancer
    Osteoporosis
    osteoarthritis
    I have appended a number of the studies just to give an indication. There are a number of trials going on at present however they take time, though I am hoping that there will be an announcement later this year regarding slowdown or possibly reversal of arterial calcification by the use of vitamin K2 (MK7).
    Foods like cheese, yogurt, olive oil, spinach and broccoli are very healthy since they all contain vitamin K2 or K1.
    Studies:-
    Journal of Nutrition 2004
    [1] Dietary Intake of Menaquinone Is Associated with a Reduced Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: The Rotterdam Study
    Johanna M. Geleijnse*, , Cees Vermeer**, Diederick E. Grobbee , Leon J. Schurgers**, Marjo H. J. Knapen**, Irene M. van der Meer*, Albert Hofman* and Jacqueline C. M. Witteman*,
    http://www.scicompdf.se/osteolis/geleijnse_2004.pdf

    Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases – 2009
    [2] A high menaquinone intake reduces the incidence of coronary heart disease
    G.C.M. Gast, N.M. de Roos, I. Sluijs, M.L. Bots, J.W.J. Beulens, J.M. Geleijnse, J.C. Witteman, D.E. Grobbee, P.H.M. Peeters, Y.T. van der Schouw
    Gast G.C.M., et al. A high menaquinone reduces the incidence of coronary heart disease in women,
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19179058

    Blood 2007
    [3] Regression of warfarin-induced medial elastocalcinosis by high intake of vitamin K in rats
    Leon J. Schurgers1,2, Henri M. H. Spronk3, Berry A. M. Soute1, Paul M. Schiffers4, Jo G. R. DeMey4, and Cees Vermeer1,2
    http://bloodjournal.hematologylibrary.org/cgi/content/short/109/7/2823

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20335553
    Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 May;91(5):1348-58. Epub 2010 Mar 24.
    [4] Dietary vitamin K intake in relation to cancer incidence and mortality: results from the Heidelberg cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-Heidelberg).
    Nimptsch K, Rohrmann S, Kaaks R, Linseisen J.
    Division of Cancer Epidemiology, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany.

    Diabetes Care 2010
    [5] Dietary phylloquinone and menaquinones intake and risk of type 2 diabetes
    Joline WJ Beulens, PhD(J.Beulens@umcutrecht.nl), Daphne L van der A, PhD,
    Diederick E. Grobbee, MD, Ivonne Sluijs, MSc, Annemieke MW Spijkerman, PhD and
    Yvonne T van der Schouw, PhD1
    http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/2010/04/23/dc09-2302.abstract

    PS
    Menaquinone is the name for vitamin k2
    and phylloquinone is the name for vitamin K1

    • Felicia August 4, 2011, 8:56 am

      Stew, you are awesome! Thanks for the info.

  • Amber Holman July 1, 2011, 1:48 am

    Hi i am amber holman and i am only 21 with a three year old son and a husband, recently i went to the hospital for my nose but when they gave me a cat scan they found a benign calcification in my brain by the frontal lobe and horn on the left hand side.They told me not to worry about it but yet told me nothing.I have been trying to find out anything i can on it….. Thankyou

    • Felicia July 1, 2011, 2:39 pm

      Amber, unfortunately I cannot help you. I shared my story here but I’m not a medical professional. If you’re not satisfied with the information given to you, please get a second opinion.

  • Stef December 14, 2010, 7:52 am

    was jsut told have 3 calcifications inside brain 2 at the pineal glands in barind and one inside the minds eye of the brain. Having severe headaches that wake me up from sleep can’t have MRI cause metal inside neck from past surgery, if there is nothing they can do for them should I keep going to other docs they want me to see a brain eye doc not sure if I sahould keep spening the money if nothing can be done. any ideas???

    • Felicia December 21, 2010, 8:59 am

      Stef, I’m sorry to hear about your condition.

      I’m hesitant to offer recommendations because I’m not a medical professional. That’s one you’ll have to do plenty of research, soul searching and praying to find the right answer. In my case, the calcium deposits didn’t cause pain and I believe is just part of the aging process so I left mine alone.

      I’d probably see the brain/eye doctor to see what they find just because you’re in pain. If they can alleviate, it might be worth it. That’s just my opinion.

  • Stew December 8, 2009, 6:28 pm

    Hi Chad,
    Firstly I’m slighty puzzled regarding the MRI scans and detection of calcification. I’m not an expert on MRI scanners and so I looked up MRI and calcium and according to the British NHS medical site MRI scanners cannot detect calcification.
    http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/MRI-scan/Pages/Disadvantages.aspx
    Is this why the MRI procedures produced no answers?

    Regarding calcification the only helpful thing I can suggest is for you to make sure you are getting enough vitamin K2 in your diet. From reading about calcification I have learnt the following:-
    1. Matrix gla protein (MGP) is produced by the body to prevent calcification of soft tissues. MGP probably does other things as well but that is main known function.
    2. MGP needs vitamin K2 to activate it, vitamin K1 can work but it isn’t as effective since the liver tends to acquire all the vitamin K1.
    3. Vitamin K2 is found in liver, cheese, butter, egg yolk and also fermented soy beans.
    4. Cardiovascular disease results from calcification of the arteries. The countries with the least heart disease in Europe eat the most cheese. In the Rotterdam study they found that the people who ate the most cheese, liver etc had the least heart disease. France has a low CVD rate compared with the rest of Europe and Gascony where they eat a lot of goose liver and cheese has a lower CVD rate than the rest of France.
    So there is evidence at the molecular level that vitamin K2 is needed to fight calcification and there is evidence from diet studies that indicate that this is true. However there hasn’t been an intervention study performed yet mainly because the science is new. (I believe that there are at least three trials being carried out at present).
    Another piece of evidence is that blood thinners like coumadin/warfarin which knock out vitamin K1 (and also K2) cause calcification. If there isn’t any vitamin K to activate the MGP proteins then you will get calcification.
    Please read up on vitamin K2, the whole area of research on vitamin K dependent proteins is very exciting, very new and very promising.
    I have not come across any study that has show vitamin K to be harmful, the only issue seems to be if people are on certain blood ‘thinners’ then a lot of vitamin K can negate the effect of the blood ‘thinner’.
    I have been eating more food that contains vitamin K2 during the last 5 months and also taking some vitamin K2 supplementation. And the result so far has been positive, I feel better and my arteries have become less stiff (based on reduction in pulse pressure).
    Please read up on vitamin K2.
    All the Best

    • Felicia December 9, 2009, 9:17 am

      Wow, Stew. As usual, you are a fountain of great information.

      Thanks for your comment.

  • Chad Richard November 13, 2009, 5:22 pm

    My name is chad richard and I am 28. And have two spots of calcifacation and have had several MRI procedures done with no anwsers.I am also at a loss and frustrated.I am otherwise healthy and have never realy had any medical problems

  • Jean October 15, 2009, 2:07 pm

    I was just wondering if you had your MRI done yet? My story is almost identical to yours (except for my symptoms come and go: blurred vision, vertigo, anxiety, headaches, poor circulation and I’m only 27). Every doctor I’ve been going to keeps saying its just anxiety (more specifically “panic disorder”) however I insisted on a CT scan. The results: No signs of mass or lesion effect. Everything normal EXCEPT two small spots of calcification. The Neurologist thinks there were probably caused by a head injury as a child but I am skeptical. I have requested an MRI as well and am just waiting for insurance to clear it.

    • Felicia October 18, 2009, 8:14 am

      Hi Jean,

      Sorry to hear about your symptoms. I hope your doctors can find the source of your ailments.

      I had my MRI and they said everything was normal. I didn’t really have any symptoms except a feeling of pressure on the right side of my head above the ear. I keep wondering if it’s all in my mind. Some days it’s more noticeable than others.

      Most time I attribute my symptoms to the aging process. I’m quite a bit older than you. As a matter of fact, I probably have a pair of shoes in my closet that are older than you, but I’m getting of point.

      When did your symptoms begin? Did you make any major changes in your life? Did you move, change your eating habits? I don’t know if that may have anything to do with what you’re experiencing, but take a self evaluation to rule out those things.

      I’d be interested to hear the outcome of your MRI.

  • Stew August 4, 2009, 7:38 pm

    Hi,
    I am just writing to ask if you know about vitamin K2. It is a vital ingredient that the body needs to help control where calcium is deposited. If people don’t have enough vitamin K2 in their diet then calcium gets deposited in the wrong places. I got to learn about it whilst investigating CHD and discovering that calcium in the arteries is a major problem. The body needs vitamin k2 to help prevent this and there is some indication that if you get enough that calcium can be removed. I have started taking K2 supplements (at present 180 micrograms a day) and over three weeks there has been a definite improvement in my pulse pressure. Vitamin K2 doesn’t have any side effects and so i would recommend that you look up the research on vitamin K2. Also look up Matrix Gla protein (MGP) – it is a protein produced by the body to stop calcification but it needs vitamin K2 in order to work.

    All the best.

    PS
    I don’t have any shares in a vitamin K2 company :)
    I am just very excited by these recent scientific discoveries, suddenly there seems to be a much clearer explanation of problems related to the bodies use of calcium.

    • Felicia August 4, 2009, 8:15 pm

      Thanks for the valuable info, Stew.

      I’m definitely going to do some research on K2. Thanks for steering me in the right direction.

  • Colleen Dunn May 8, 2009, 7:06 pm

    Felicia,

    I too am looking for information on calcium deposits in the brain. My Mother was told years ago that she had a calcium deposit on her brain. When she asked her doctor what to do about it, his reply was, “If it isn’t broke don’t fix it.” During that time she had what the family called a “bad habit”. Her head would shake as if she had Parkinson’s Disease. My brother and I were in our teens at that time, and we just assumed Mom was thinking about the many numerous stunts we pulled and just shaking her head as if her thoughts were, ” I can’t believe this is my life, where did I go wrong, are these really my children.”

    In 1998 my Mom was then diagnosed with Breast Cancer. She had to have a full mastectomy, chemo, the whole nine yards. She was a trooper!!! She and I would often make off-color jokes about her condition which always upset my brother, but that was how we got through it. The cancer has yet to return, THANK GOD!

    In the past few months she has been having some serious symptoms that no one (doctors in our area) seems to be interested in, and their answer for everything is antidepressants. Her symptoms have included involuntary leg spasms, chronic muscle aches, depression, sometimes she is manic, and the most disturbing is severe double vision. She finally had another CAT and MRI which showed that the calcium deposit has moved. The mistake I made was not going into the actual office with her. Her physician wants her to have a ECG and that is all the information we have so far.

    I am trying to find out if they can be treated and the extent of what to expect. Any information you have would help me so much.

    Thank you so much and good luck to you.

    Colleen Dunn

    • Felicia May 9, 2009, 11:30 am

      Hello Colleen,

      I’m sorry to hear about your mother’s medical issues. Not being an expert in the medical field, I did a little research into the cause of calcium deposits on the brain when I had my scare. Here’s some of the information I found. I’m not sure how helpful it will be in your situation.

      Will your mother allow you to talk to her physicians directly? I remember when my mother was ill, she allowed me to be the contact person, so I knew everything that was going on. It sound like your mom needs that kind of assistance to get through this situation.

      As I come across more information, I’ll gladly share it with you. In the meanwhile, I wish you and your mom the best.

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