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Anencephaly Definition

Anencephaly is a cephalic disorder resulting from a neural tube defect, which occurs when the head of the neural tube does not close. It usually occurs around the 23rd to 26th day of pregnancy. This condition results in the absence of a large portion of the scalp, skull and brain. Infants with Anencephaly are born with no forebrain, the part of the brain where the cerebral hemispheres should be present. The brain tissues that exist are often uncovered by skin or bone. Infants born with Anencephaly are usually deaf, blind, unconscious and inability to feel pain. This is because the cerebral hemispheres affected by this condition are responsible for higher level of cognition, such as thinking. In the United States, 1,000 to 2,000 babies are born with Anencephaly every year. Female babies are more likely to be affected by Anencephaly. Unfortunately, the cause of Anencephaly is unknown.

Anencephaly Diagnosis

Anencephaly can be diagnosed early by completing an ultrasound examination during pregnancy. Since Anencephaly is not a common disorder, many false diagnosis occur. It is often mistaken for microcephaly and exencephaly. Sometimes, doctors provide a false prognosis stating that the baby can live for several years. Since the brain is open and prone to infections, this cannot occur.

Anencephaly Treatment

There is no cure, treatment or therapy available for Anencephaly patients. Prognosis of those affected is very poor. Most babies with Anencephaly do not survive after birth, accounting to over 50% of non-aborted deaths on babies. If an anencephalic baby is not stillborn, he or she usually die within hours or days from cardiorespiratory arrest.

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