Moyamoya disease is a disorder of blood vessels in the brain, specifically the internal carotid arteries and the arteries that branch from them. These vessels, which provide oxygen-rich blood to the brain, narrow over time. The narrowing of these vessels reduces blood flow in the brain. In an attempt to compensate, new networks of small, fragile blood vessels form. These networks, visualized by a particular test called an angiogram, resemble puffs of smoke, which is how the condition got its name: “moyamoya” is an expression meaning “something hazy like a puff of smoke” in Japanese.
Moyamoya disease commonly begins either around age 5 or in a person’s thirties or forties. A lack of blood supply to the brain leads to several symptoms of the disorder, including temporary stroke-like episodes (transient ischemic attacks), strokes, and seizures. In addition, the fragile blood vessels that grow can develop bulges (aneurysms), or they can break open, leading to bleeding (hemorrhage) in the brain. Affected individuals may develop recurrent headaches, involuntary jerking movements (chorea), or a decline in thinking ability. The symptoms of moyamoya disease often worsen over time if the condition is not treated.
Some people have the blood vessel changes characteristic of moyamoya disease in addition to features of another disorder, such as neurofibromatosis type 1, sickle cell disease, or Graves disease. These individuals are said to have moyamoya syndrome.
Courtesy of MedlinePlus from the National Library of Medicine.
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Source Agency: National Library of Medicine