Scientists have found a link between poor sleep and lowered brain volume.Matthew Purdy/Flickr

A four-year-old boy, who hit puberty shortly after celebrating his first birthday, got his childhood back, thanks to a complex brain surgery initiated by a team of doctors in Puducherry.

The boy was just one-and-half-years- old when he started showing symptoms of puberty. His parents were embarrassed to watch their boy's private parts growing bigger, his voice sounding rough and pimples appearing on the face. All these were accompanied by a change in the boy's behaviour as he turned very aggressive, Hindustan Times, reported.

Concerned about his abnormal growth, the parents sought the help of doctors at Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (Jipmer) in Puducherry. The tests revealed that the boy was suffering from precocious puberty. 

The landmark sign of puberty (the body changes that indicates transformation of a child into an adult) in girls is menarche or the first menstrual bleeding, and for boys it is the first ejaculation. Menarche normally starts after a girl turns 11 years old and for boys, the process of puberty begins at age 12 or 13. The onset of puberty before age 8 (girls) and age 9 (boys) is termed as precocious puberty.

The boy had excessive sex hormones in his blood and abnormal tissue growth in the hypothalamus, an important region of the brain that plays a major role in the production and regulation of hormones. To help control the excessive hormone production, the boy was given injections at a regular interval of three months. Doctors advised the parents to continue treatment for another 10 years. However, as the parents couldn't afford the huge cost involved in the injection, doctors recommended them to go for surgery.

During the complex brain surgery that lasted three hours, Dr VR Roopesh Kumar and his colleagues successfully removed the abnormal tissue from his brain area. "It is a complex surgery as the abnormal tissue has to be removed without damaging the vital neurovascular structures surrounding it," Dr. Kumar told The Times of India.

Three months have passed since the boy underwent the surgery and he is back to a normal life. "Hormone values have become normal after surgery for his age and there is no need for further injections," Dr Kumar told Hindustan Times.