Tags: yamini karanam | evil | twin | discovery | brain | tumor

Yamini Karanam: Woman's Brain Tumor Is Actually Her 'Evil Twin'

By    |   Thursday, 23 Apr 2015 03:48 PM

Yamini Karanam, a PhD computer science student at Indiana University, lost control of her life because of an “evil twin” living in her head. What doctors initially thought was a brain tumor, instead turned out to be a growth complete with teeth, hair, and bone.

At 26, Karanam was diagnosed with a tumor on her pineal gland, an endocrine gland in the center of the brain, The Washington Post reported. Once a top student from India who was studying in Indianapolis, her grades tanked and she began sleeping all the time, unable to function.

As doctors discussed their limited options, Karanam’s health worsened. Her friends took to GiveForward to start a fundraiser to help her afford a potentially life-saving surgery done by a California specialist with a pioneering technique.

The Post said Dr. Hrayr Shahinian performed a successful surgery on Karanam in mid-April, but it wasn’t until he actually made the incision in the back of his patient’s head that Shahinian discovered he wasn’t dealing with a brain tumor.

“Karanam’s tumor wasn’t just a tumor. It was a teratoma: a clump of bone, hair and teeth. A Frankenstein’s monster within Karanam’s own mind,” The Post wrote.

Shahinian told the Post that of the 7,000-plus tumors he’s operated on, this was only the second teratoma that he found. It is unclear how teratomas develop, but the name comes from the Greek “monster mass,” according to Ricki Lewis, PhD, on PLOS.

“Teratoma is an outcropping of normal embryonic parts in a person, including representatives of the three layers of the embryo,” Lewis wrote. “It usually develops from a wayward sperm or egg that erroneously activated its developmental program, or a somatic cell escaped from an early embryo that didn’t realize it was no longer a part of the whole. Remnants of a twin might also appear to be a teratoma but isn’t quite the same thing.”

Still, the idea of a twin resonated with Karanam. She told NBC Los Angeles, joking, that the tumor was like an “evil twin sister who's been torturing me for the past 26 years."

She is now expected to make a full recovery.

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Yamini Karanam, a PhD computer science student at Indiana University, lost control of her life because of an “evil twin” living in her head. What doctors initially thought was a brain tumor, instead turned out to be a growth complete with teeth, hair, and bone.
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Thursday, 23 Apr 2015 03:48 PM
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