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Microcephaly

February 14, 2012 1954 No of hits
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Microcephaly

Microcephaly is a birth defect where the circumference of an infant's head is smaller than normal. Most children with microcephaly will have symptoms at birth but others may not become apparent until they are a few years old. Skull growth is dependent on the growth of the brain so a child's brain may grow temporarily and then stop. Some children with microcephaly will have normal intelligence but most are mentally retarded and have other developmental disorders such as delayed speech and delayed motor functions. They may also have seizures and spastic movements of the arms and legs.

The exact cause of microcephaly is unknown but it has been associated with a number of other disorders. Women who abuse alcohol or drugs during pregnancy or have uncontrolled diabetes or phenylketonuria show a higher incidence of microcephaly in newborns. Infections such as toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus, and rubella when the child is in utero can cause the defect as well. The condition can also be part of a syndrome of genetic defects such as Down syndrome, trisomy 13, trisomy 18 and dwarfism.

A child born with microcephaly requires frequent examinations to monitor the head. The full extent of damage becomes known as the child develops and his progress is compared to developmental milestones of children of his age and gender. There is no treatment that will increase the size of the skull or the brain so the focus is on preventing further deformities and managing whatever neurological problems are present. A child with microcephaly benefits from speech and occupational therapy and neuromuscular problems can be mitigated with physical therapy. Seizures and hyperactivity are controlled with medication. The prognosis varies from child to child and depends largely on his range of medical conditions but overall one with microcephaly has a reduced life expectancy as compared to others his age.

Tags:   Microcephaly   Brain   Head   Skull   Genetic defects   Seizures  

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Microcephaly is a birth defect where the circumference of an infant's head is smaller than normal. Most children with microcephaly will have symptoms at birth but others may not become apparent until they are a few years old. Skull growth is dependent on the growth of the brain so a child's brain...

By: Richard Martine Created 73 months ago

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