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Monday, November 26, 2012

Neural tube defects

It is an embryonic tissue which covers the brain and spinal cord. The defect in neural tube can involve the cranial (cephalic) or the caudal end. It can be mild, moderate or severe.


                When the head (cephalic) end fails to close resulting in absence of major portion of brain and skull is called anencephaly. Infants born with this condition are usually blind, deaf and unconscious. They die within few hours and days after birth.


Sac like protrusion of brain through opening in skull is called encephalocele.


Spina bifida:

A condition which involves the caudal end of neural tube is called spina bifida. There is incomplete development of spinal arch. It can be divided into the following types.

Spina bifida occulta:

It is the mildest form (hidden spine deformity). Most patients have never any health problem. Rarely the skin has moles, hair tufts. Sometimes the spinal cord or nerves are tethered to the spine. The abnormality may involve single or multiple vertebrae which may need surgery.

Types of Spina Bifida

Spina Bifida Cystica:

Meningocele: The meninges (sac) protrude through opening.
Meningomyelocele: Both meninges and spinal cord protrude.


a.       Genetic factors
b.      Folic acid deficiency
c.       Drugs (Valporate, Methotrexate)
d.      Smoking


·         Physiotherapy
·         Neurosurgery (definitive)


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