1) Cerebral Cavernous Angioma is also known as cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM) or cavernoma.
2) A cavernous angioma is a mulberry-shaped abnormal blood vessel with thin, leaky walls.
3) Cavernous angiomas are found mostly in the brain and spinal cord.
4) 1 in 500 people have at least one cavernous angioma in their brain. Most people will have no symptoms.
5) Cavernous angiomas can grow and hemorrhage at any age, including in young children. They are most likely to become symptomatic when a person is between the ages of 20-40.
6) The most common first symptom is seizure (50%), followed by hemorrhage (25%) and neurological deficits (25%) like blurred vision and weakness in limbs.
7) Cavernous angioma is hereditary in about 25% of people who have the illness.
8) Those with the hereditary form of the illness will have more than one cavernous angioma and will develop more lesions over time.
9) The hereditary form of the illness does not skip generations. Each child of an affected person has a 50/50 chance of inheriting the illness.
10) The hereditary form of the illness can be caused by a mutation on any one of three genes: CCM1, CCM2, and CCM3.
11) The hereditary form of the illness can happen in any family. However, there are several groups of people that are at higher risk for the hereditary form: descendants of the original Hispanic population of New Mexico where the mutation began in the mid-1600’s, the Ashkenazi Jewish population, and a European-American group with roots in the deep South and Oklahoma.
12) Brain or spinal surgery is the only current treatment for the illness, but there are a number of medications under development to strengthen the vessels and stop more cavernous angiomas from forming.
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