A rare skin condition known as cutis verticis gyrata (CVG) is characterised by the development of prominent ridges and folds on the scalp. These ridges and folds can resemble the surface of the brain on the head. Other names for the condition include “brain skin” and “cortex cutis verticis gyrata.”
There are several potential causes of CVG, including genetics, hormonal imbalances, and underlying medical conditions.
CVG can be inherited as an autosomal dominant trait, which means that a person only needs to inherit one copy of the mutated gene from a parent in order to develop the condition. Studies have identified several genes that are associated with CVG, including the TSC2 gene, which is involved in the development of brain cells.
Hormonal imbalances, particularly an excess of testosterone, have been linked to the development of CVG. Testosterone plays a role in the development of the scalp, and an excess of this hormone can lead to the growth of excess skin on the scalp. This can cause the characteristic folds and ridges of CVG.
Underlying medical conditions
CVG can also be a symptom of underlying medical conditions, such as hormonal disorders, infections, and neurological conditions.
Hormonal disorders: CVG has been associated with hormonal disorders such as hyperandrogenism, which is characterized by an excess of androgens (male hormones) in the body. This can lead to the development of excess skin on the scalp, which can cause the characteristic folds and ridges of CVG.
Infections: CVG has been linked to infections such as syphilis and HIV/AIDS. These infections can cause inflammation in the scalp, leading to the development of excess skin and the characteristic folds and ridges of CVG.
Neurological conditions: CVG has been associated with neurological conditions such as epilepsy and cerebral palsy. These conditions can affect the development of the brain and scalp, leading to the characteristic folds and ridges of CVG.
CVG is a rare condition, and the exact prevalence is not known. It is thought to be more common in men than in women, and it can occur at any age, although it is more commonly seen in middle-aged and older individuals.
The signs and symptoms of CVG can vary from person to person, but the most common symptoms include the presence of deep folds and ridges on the scalp, which can give the appearance of a brain-like surface on the head. Other symptoms may include thinning hair, scaling of the skin, and itching.
The diagnosis of CVG is typically made based on a physical examination and the presence of the characteristic folds and ridges on the scalp. A biopsy of the affected skin may also be performed to confirm the diagnosis.
There is no cure for CVG, and treatment is typically focused on managing the symptoms and underlying cause of the condition. Treatment options may include medications to manage underlying medical conditions, such as hormonal imbalances or infections, as well as surgical procedures to remove excess skin and improve the appearance of the scalp.
In cases where the condition is caused by an underlying medical condition, treating the underlying condition may help to improve the symptoms of CVG. For example, if CVG is caused by an infection, treating the infection may help to reduce inflammation and improve the appearance of the scalp.
It is important for individuals with CVG to work closely with their healthcare team to develop an appropriate treatment plan. With proper treatment, the symptoms of CVG can be managed and the appearance of the scalp can be improved.