During the development of the embryo, within the first month the nervous system is formed. It is created by a plate of cells called the neural plate. This then turns in to the neural sheath. The neural sheath by the 28th day, develops into the brain and the spinal cord. If problems arise during the development of the cord, it is called a neural tube defect which can lead to spinal bifida or other spinal cord deformities. Spina Bifida is one of the most common birth defects with in the United States, one out of every eight babies are diagnosed with this disorder. Also 95 percent of babies with spina bifida and other neural tube defects are born to parents with no family history of these disorders. If one child has spina bifida, the risk of recurrence in any other pregnancy is greatly increased, to about one in 40.
Spina Bifida is idiopathic meaning there is no cause to why this occurs. The word spina bifida means cleft spine which is the incomplete development of the CNS. Scientists suspect that the lack of folic acid in the mothers diet could cause a defect in the neural tube. Doctors push the prenatal vitamins due to them containing the folic acid that is needed in the diet. A mother who take the prenatal vitamins as soon as she finds out that she is pregnant, decreases her risk for her child having spina bifida by 50 percent. Another assumption is the maternal serum alpha fetoprotein level in the body. This fetoprotein is made naturally by the fetus and the placenta. If the protein “leaks” into the mothers blood steam and the levels are very high, this is an indicator that a neural tube defect may have occurred. According to the NINDS website, the United States has the most people diagnosed with spina bifida a common neural tube defect and affects 1,500 to 2,000 unborn infants yearly and today there are over 166,000 people still living that have spinal bifida.
Spina Bifida have four different types the Occulta, Meningocele, Meningomyelocele, and Myeloschisis. The most common type is the Occulta which is the most mild form of spina bifida. In Latin the word Occulta means hidden or split open, this type of spina bifia has a layer of skin “hiding” the malformation of the spine. According to the NINDS website this type occurs within 10-20 percent of the population rarely has any symptoms or disabilities. Usually when the child is born there is a tufts or clump of hair present on the spine where the malformation has occurred. The second type is the Meningocele which is when a fluid filled “sac” is formed outside the skin. It looks like a blister on the spine but it is filled with cerebral spinal fluid. The sac does not have the spinal cord, meninges, or nerves present in the sack. However children that has this type usually have bladder and bowel problems and have trouble using their legs so assistant devices are recommended. The third type of spina bifida is the Meningomylelocele which is when the spinal cord and a neural components are present in the protruding “sac”. Children with this type usually have sensory and motor problems as they develop. Paralysis of the lower extremities can occur due to the severity off this type of spina bifida. The last type of spina bifida is the most severe and its called Myeloschisis. This is when the spinal cord and all the neural components are exposed on the outside of the skin. Infection and meningitis are the two most common worries as the child is born. As soon as the child is born the doctors rush in to surgery to see if they can repair as much of the spinal cord as possible. Children with this type usually lose function from where the spina bifida occurs on the spine.
Diagnosing spina bifida can occur while the mother is still pregnant with the child. The mother can get an ultrasound which will not show the Occulta type but will show the Meningocele, Meningomyelocele, and Myeloschisis types doe to the sac being present. The MSAFP which is the maternal serum alpha...
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