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Fully-Formed Teeth In Baby Boy's Brain Baffles Scientists

Update Date: Feb 28, 2014 04:56 PM EST
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A four-month-old baby was discovered to have teeth growing inside his brain, according to various news reports.

Doctors believe the baby boy from Maryland who suffers a rare type of brain tumor filled with multiple teeth, is the first person in medical history to have this type of brain tumor that contains teeth.

The boy needed to undergo surgery to remove the tumor and is now well on his way to recovery, according to the Daily Mail.

Doctors noticed the boy after a routine health check revealed that his head was growing significantly faster than normal, according to the report in the New England Journal of Medicine.

After analyzing the boy's MRI scans, doctors discovered that the boy had a 4.1cm by 4cm by 3.5cm tumor near his pituitary gland. The brain scans also showed that the tumor contained teeth that looked like those found in the lower jaw.

Surgeons were able to successfully remove the tumor from the boy's brain. Further tests revealed that the tumor was a rare slow-growing mass called adamantinomatous craniopharyngioma that rarely spreads. Researchers said these tumors, which usually start in the area around the pituitary gland, are filled with sticky, yellow fluid containing cholesterol crystals. While researchers have always believed that these tumors form from the same cells involved in making teeth, researchers said actual teeth has never been seen in these tumors.

"It's not every day you see teeth in any type of tumor in the brain. In a craniopharyngioma, it's unheard of," Dr. Narlin Beaty, a neurosurgeon at the University of Maryland Medical Center, who performed the boy's operation told Live Science, adding that these tumors often contain some calcium deposits "but when we pulled out a full tooth...I think that's something slightly different."

"He's doing extremely well, all things considered. This was a big tumor right in the center of his brain. Before the modern surgical era this child would not have survived," Beaty said.

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