What is CONGENITAL BRAIN DEFECT?
Dr Reginald Varadarajulu Vsm
Hbr layout, Bengaluru Feb 9, 2017
The brain begins to develop in the first month after conception, and continues to form and develop throughout pregnancy. This development of brain starts from a small, special part of cells on the surface of the embryo. These special cells grow and make the different parts of the brain.Whenever this process gets disturbed or interrupted, it causes structural defects in the brain and skull leading to congenital brain defects
types of congenital brain defects
Most of congenital brain defects occur due to neural tube defects. In early stages of fetal development, a flat strip of tissue from the back of the fetus rolls up and forms the neural tube. This neural tube runs along most of the length of the embryo.The tube typically closes around the third and fourth week after conception. It grows to become into the spinal cord with the brain at the top. In case the tube doesn’t close properly, it hampers the proper growth of tissues inside causing an abnormality. Various abnormalities or defects can be listed as follows:
Anencephaly: When the head end of the neural tube fails to close, and a major portion of the skull and brain goes missing. The missing portion of the skull exposes the brain tissues.
Arnold-Chiari or Chiari II: A part of the cerebellum, the region of the brain that affects motor control, gets shifted down into the upper spinal column, causing the brain or spinal cord to become compressed.
Encephalocele: A portion of the brain bulges out through an opening (hole/crack) in the skull. The bulge is often visible along the midline at the back of the skull.
Other types of structural congenital brain defects that develop within the brain can be:
Hydrocephalus: Also known as the fluid on the brain, this is an unreasonable buildup of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) caused by faulty circulation of the CSF. This excess fluid can put too much pressure on the brain.
Dandy-Walker syndrome: This involves the missing or improper growth of the central section of the cerebellum.
Megalencephaly: This condition results in a person’s brain to become abnormally large or heavy.
Holoprosencephaly: In this casethe brain doesn’t divide into two halves, or hemispheres.
Microcephaly: This condition occurs when the brain doesn’t develop to full size.
Congenital brain defects treatments
Treatment of CB defects varies depending on the type and severity of the condition. Many treatments usually focus on treating the symptoms. For example, anticonvulsant medications can aid in reducing episodes of seizures.
Some conditions are treated surgically. Decompression surgery can be performed to create more space for brain and cerebrospinal fluid wherever needed. Surgery to correct imperfect skulls can give the brain proper space to grow normally. Shunts can be put in place to drain the excess cerebrospinal fluid that builds up with hydrocephalus.