A hypothalamic tumor is a growth that develops inside or on top of the hypothalamus in the brain.
What is going on in the body?
The hypothalamus, which lies between the thalamus and the pituitary gland, is one of the most important areas of the brain. It controls such functions as body temperature and coordination of the nervous and hormone systems. Most of the tumors of the hypothalamus occur in children and cause symptoms by 3 years of age. Abnormal pituitary gland secretions associated with tumors of this region can cause puberty before the age of 8 years.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
Approximately 20% of people with neurofibromatosis, an inherited disorder involving the growth of fibrous swellings on the nerves, will develop a hypothalamic tumor. Other cases occur for unknown reasons.