Does spina bifida affect the brain?

Does spina bifida affect the brain?

Hydrocephalus affects many newborns born with spina bifida (often called "water on the brain"). This indicates that there is an increase in fluid in and around the brain. The additional fluid can cause the areas in the brain known as ventricles to enlarge, causing the head to swell. This extra fluid also may come out of the blood vessels into the chest or abdomen, where it can be felt by touch.

Children with spina bifida are at risk for several problems including cognitive impairment and mental retardation. The type and degree of disability will depend on how much of the spinal cord is absent or damaged. Problems may also arise from other factors such as hydrocephalus, which is more common if spina bifida occurs in multiple children within a family. Hydrocephalus is also associated with other disorders such as meningitis, epilepsy, and behavioral issues.

Cognitive impairment is seen in about two-thirds of children with spina bifida. Mental retardation develops if the disorder exists early in life when brain development is most important. Spinal cord injuries also can develop into dementia. People who have had a spinal cord injury may experience changes in their memory and other cognitive abilities due to damage to parts of the brain that control thinking skills.

Spina bifida is a major birth defect caused by errors during embryonic development. The defects occur before birth because the bones of the spine do not form properly.

What type of spina bifida causes hydrocephalus?

Hydrocephalus (from the Greek words hydor "water" and kephale "head") develops at birth in 15–25 percent of infants with open myelomeningocele (a kind of spina bifida), yet in most surgical studies, the proportion of patients with myelomeningocele who require shunting is 80–90 percent. Hydrocephalus may also develop as a complication of other lesions such as tumors or vascular malformations. It is important to recognize that these are two different conditions; therefore, treating one condition cannot cure the other.

Myelomeningocele is an opening in the spinal column with nerve tissue exposed to the outside world through it. The opening can be anywhere from a small gap in the skin to a large hole where the entire spine is visible. In addition to the opening, the spinal cord and bones of the spine may be damaged due to pressure from growing tissues within the body or injury during childbirth. This damage prevents the spinal cord and nerves from developing properly.

Symptoms of myelomeningocele include pain, muscle weakness, bladder problems, dementia, and paralysis. A patient with myelomeningocele will always have some level of disability. However, advances in medicine and surgery have increased life expectancy for these individuals. Close monitoring by your physician is necessary so that complications can be detected early and treated promptly.

What percentage of individuals with spina bifida also have hydrocephalus?

More than 85% of persons with spina bifida develop hydrocephalus, which is a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain (CSF). Hydrocephalus can be very serious or even life-threatening if not treated properly. The main goal of treatment is to reduce the pressure inside the skull and relieve symptoms such as headache, confusion, and nausea.

Spina bifida is an opening in the spinal column through which some bone tissue and nerves are visible. The cause of this defect is unknown but it may be related to genetics or environmental factors such as smoking or alcohol consumption by parents during pregnancy. Spina bifida can occur anywhere along the spine but most cases occur in the lumbar region (low back) or sacrum (bone at the base of the spine).

People with spina bifida often have other health problems too. These may include kidney disease, pain around the hips or lower back, muscle weakness, bowel and bladder problems. Many people require special care or even surgery as they get older.

Hydrocephalus is the abnormal accumulation of CSF within the brain and its surrounding tissues. This condition occurs when the normal drainage routes for the fluid are blocked off by something that interferes with the flow of blood or nerve signals to the brain.

Does spina bifida affect learning?

Many youngsters with spina bifida achieve academic success. However, certain people may have difficulty, particularly youngsters who have hydrocephalus shunts (often called "water on the brain"). These youngsters frequently struggle with learning. The reason for this problem is that the shunt keeps excess water in the brain. This extra water can cause problems with thinking and memory skills.

Spina bifida is a serious birth defect in which the spinal cord is not completely covered by bone or membrane. This open spine allows bones, nerves, blood vessels, and other tissues to protrude from the spinal column. The severity of these defects varies depending on how far up the spine it occurs. Spina bifida can be classified based on its location within the spine: lumbar (back), thoracic (chest), or sacral (bottom).

Lumbar spina bifida involves lesions in the lower back. These are the most common form of the disease and occur when the neural tube fails to close over a large area of the body. Most children with lumbar spina bifida will require some type of surgical procedure to alleviate pain and control urine leakage into the skin of the buttocks or groin. A small but significant number of patients with lumbar spina bifida will develop cancer of the bowel or bladder.

What problems does spina bifida cause?

Spina bifida can produce a variety of symptoms, including mobility issues, bladder and bowel issues, and difficulties related with hydrocephalus (excess fluid on the brain). The severity of the symptoms of spina bifida varies greatly, according primarily to the location of the opening in the spine. Patients with more severe injuries may experience other complications as well.

Spina bifida is most commonly caused by an injury to the spinal column before or during birth. The most common mechanism for this type of injury is premature delivery or trauma during childbirth. Other factors that may increase your risk of developing spina bifida include being female, having a mother who was over 35 when she gave birth, and using alcohol or drugs during pregnancy.

The severity of the symptoms of spina bifida depends on how much of the spinal cord is affected.

What does spina bifida do to a baby?

A section of the neural tube does not shut or grow properly in newborns with spina bifida, resulting in abnormalities in the spinal cord and spine bones. The severity of spina bifida varies according on the kind of defect, size, location, and complications. Spina bifida can be divided into three main types: low-lying sacral segments with two feet; high-lying sacral segments with one foot; and complete spina bifida where the entire lumbar spine is involved.

Children with spina bifida are at risk for serious medical conditions including paralysis, incontinence, cognitive impairment, and death. Many factors determine how severe these defects will be, including the type of spina bifida present. About 8 out of 10 babies are born with their spines completely intact. However, about 2 out of 10 babies are diagnosed with spina bifida during pregnancy or shortly after birth.

The causes of spina bifida are not known for certain. It may be caused by problems with fetal development, such as genetic defects or infections during early pregnancy. Environmental factors may also play a role. For example, mothers who were exposed to diethylstilbestrol (DES) during pregnancy have a higher risk of giving birth to a child with spina bifida. This connection has since been proven by other studies.

About Article Author

Mattie Spence

Mattie Spence is a health enthusiast and has been living in the moment for as long as she can remember. She loves to read books on how to live your best life possible, and takes any opportunity to learn more about how the body works. She has been working in the health industry for over 10 years, and is passionate about helping others feel their best.

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