Topics: Cerebrospinal fluid, Hydrocephalus, Ventricular system Pages: 3 (893 words) Published: January 22, 2013
There are many birth defects being discovered all around the world. However, the birth defect I found to be most interesting was hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus is one of the single most common birth defects and most people have never heard of it. What happens is, the brain is producing cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) normally and fluid is drained from the brain into the spinal canal and is reabsorbed by the body, keeping the amount in the brain balanced. But when normal drainage doesn’t occur, the brain produces too much CSF fluid to be able to drain normally which leads to the build-up of fluid in the ventricles of the brain and causes pressure and enlarging of the head. Hydrocephalic skulls can be found in ancient Egyptian medical literature from 2500 BC to 500 AD but was described more clearly by the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates in the 4th century BC. Hydrocephalus may be caused by genetic defects or certain infections during pregnancy. If the mother has infections such as the chicken pox or mumps during pregnancy it makes the risk of the baby having hydrocephalus greater because the infection creates a blockage in the brain which doesn’t allow the CSF fluid to drain properly and when this happens it starts to put pressure on the brain causing the embryos head to enlarge. Some malformations of the brain may cause hydrocephalus such as spinal bifida and dandy-walker syndrome as well. Also it can occur when the ventricles produce too much CSF fluid or when the bloodstream cannot reabsorb the fluid that was produced. “Each year, 1 in 1,000 children are born and diagnosed with hydrocephalus.” This is fairly large number especially when the latest statistics reveal that a child is born in the U.S. every 8.1 seconds, meaning that a child is born with hydrocephalus every 135 minutes. Many cases of hydrocephalus are most likely detected in the utero or at birth as early as the first trimester. The doctors can somewhat tell whether or not the baby in the utero has...
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