What is microcephaly and how is it caused?

What is microcephaly and how is it caused?

Microcephaly usually is the result of abnormal brain development, which can occur in the womb (congenital) or during infancy. Microcephaly may be genetic. Other causes may include: Craniosynostosis.

At what stage of development does microcephaly occur?

Early diagnosis of microcephaly can sometimes be made by fetal ultrasound. Ultrasounds have the best diagnosis possibility if they are made at the end of the second trimester, around 28 weeks, or in the third trimester of pregnancy. Often diagnosis is made at birth or at a later stage.

What kind of mutation is microcephaly?

In some cases, microcephaly may be caused by inheriting an abnormal gene. Microcephaly is an autosomal recessive gene disorder. Autosomal means that boys and girls are equally affected. Recessive means that two copies of the gene, one from each parent, are needed to have the condition.

Is microcephaly a neural tube defect?

Like microcephaly, anencephaly is a “neural tube defect” that leads to tragic pregnancy outcomes. In microcephaly, the baby’s brain has not developed properly and the head is smaller than expected.

What is microcephaly and what are some of the symptoms of microcephaly?

The main feature of microcephaly is a head size that is much smaller than normal for the child’s age and gender. Other signs and symptoms can vary widely from child to child. They can include: poor weight gain and growth.

What causes a baby’s brain not to develop?

Sometimes called “open skull,” anencephaly happens when the upper part of the neural tube doesn’t close completely during the baby’s development. The neural tube is a flat piece of tissue that grows into a tube and forms the brain and spinal cord. Without a closed tube, the brain and skull don’t develop.

What size head is microcephaly?

Normal head circumferences in term infants range from 32 to 38 cm. Microcephaly is defined as a head circumference 2 standard deviations (SDs) below the mean for age and sex or roughly less than the 2nd percentile.

Does small head mean small brain?

Even though head size also depends on factors such as the muscularity of the head and thickness of the bone, it’s very likely that a bigger head means a bigger brain. But Hurlburt says people with bigger brains aren’t necessarily smarter than those with smaller ones.

What is the name of the gene that causes microcephaly?

Mutations in the ASPM gene are the most common cause of the disorder, accounting for about half of all cases. The genes associated with MCPH play important roles in early brain development, particularly in determining brain size.

How can you prevent microcephaly?

While you’re pregnant, you can take steps to try to prevent acquired microcephaly:

  1. Eat a healthy diet and take prenatal vitamins.
  2. Don’t drink alcohol or do drugs.
  3. Stay away from chemicals.
  4. Wash your hands often, and get treated for any illness as soon as you feel sick.
  5. Have someone else change the litter box.

What is the pinhead disease?

Microcephaly (from New Latin microcephalia, from Ancient Greek μικρός mikrós “small” and κεφαλή kephalé “head”) is a medical condition involving a smaller-than-normal head. Microcephaly may be present at birth or it may develop in the first few years of life.

What is the difference between microcephalus and microcephaly?

For the genus of beetle, see Microcephalus (beetle). For the genus of spider, see Argyrodes. Microcephaly (from New Latin microcephalia, from Ancient Greek μικρός mikrós “small” and κεφαλή kephalé “head”) is a medical condition involving a shorter-than-normal head.

What is postnatal microcephaly?

Microcephaly is a condition defined as a small head circumference present at birth (congenital microcephaly, Figure 1) or later in life (postnatal or acquired microcephaly). Children with postnatal microcephaly have a normal head size at birth then subsequently fail to have normal head growth.

What injuries can cause microcephaly?

Disruptive injuries such as traumatic brain injury, hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke, and hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy can also lead to microcephaly. Microcephaly is not a common condition.

How do I know if my baby has microcephaly?

A child with more severe microcephaly may also have a backward-sloping forehead. Chances are your doctor will detect microcephaly at the baby’s birth or at a regular well-baby checkup. However, if you think your baby’s head is smaller than normal or isn’t growing as it should, talk to your doctor.