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Bizarre News: Tiny Brain, Skull, Hair Found Inside Teen's Ovary

Update Date: Jan 09, 2017 08:30 AM EST
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Japanese surgeons have extracted a tumor containing a miniature brain, skull and hair from a 16-year-old teenager's ovary.

The 10-centimeter-wide tumor discovered the tumor when the girl had a surgery to remove her appendix. Published in the journal Neuropathology, the scientists described their analysis of the specimen they got from the ovary. They found that it was a smaller version of a cerebellum, which usually sits underneath the brain's two hemispheres.

What Are Teratomas?

About one-fifth of ovarian tumors contain foreign tissue, which could include cartilage, fat, muscle, hair and teeth. Dubbed as teratomas, these tumors may seem monster-like. In fact, the name teratoma was coined from the Greek word "teras", meaning monster.

For the girl's case, the tumor is called mature cystic teratoma. These are formed when a mass of cells inside a body grows into various tissue types. Though they seem scary, they are considered benign and are easily removed by surgery.

"Neural elements similar to that of the central nervous system are frequently reported in ovarian teratomas, but structures resembling the adult brain are rare," Angelique Riepsamen at the University of New South Wales in Australia, told the New Scientist. She added that the tiny brain even developed in such a way that electric impulses are able to transmit between neurons, just like a normal brain.

Cause Of Teratomas

Up until today, there is no known cause of ovarian teratomas. However, a theory says that immature cells turn rogue and produce different body parts, Fox News reports.

Do not confuse teratomas with parasitic twins, though. Teratomas form from the body's own cells and those found in the ovary frequently contain brain matter.

Fortunately for the patient, the patient did not suffer symptoms. On the other hand, for other patients, they may suffer from neurological symptoms when the immune system detects the brain cells as foreign bodies. Hence, the immune system might attack the cells in the woman's real brain. In some cases, women experienced personality changes, confusion, seizures, agitation or memory loss.

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