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Common clues in brain tumours

Visual difficulties and educational or behavioural problems are common in children with brain tumours, a new study shows.

Researchers advised GPs to take a careful history of these symptoms alongside the more recognised signs of headache or motor dysfunction.

Among 200 children presenting with a CNS tumour to paediatric or neurosurgical departments, headache was the most common symptom, affecting 56 per cent at some point prior to diagnosis.

But 51 per cent of the children had suffered vomiting, 44 per cent educational or behavioural problems, 40 per cent

unsteadiness and 38 per cent

visual difficulties.

At first presentation, 41 per cent reported headaches, 12 per cent vomiting, 11 per cent unsteadiness, 10 per cent visual difficulties, 10 per cent educational or behavioural problems and 9 per cent seizures.

Study leader Dr Colin Ken-nedy, consultant in paediatric neurology at Southampton General Hospital, said: 'Visual symptoms or educational or behavioural difficulties occurred at some point in four-fifths of all children.'

Dr Kennedy added: 'Mul-

tiple symptomatology should raise clinicians' index of


The research was published early online in Archives of Disease in Childhood.

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