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Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus awareness week

View profile for Laura Curtis
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This week is Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus awareness week.

Below is a brief introduction to conditions associated with Spina Bifida;


  • Is a medical condition where there is an abnormal build up of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the brain
  • It can be known as ‘water on the brain’
  • It occurs more commonly in infants
  • The build up of CSF in the central nervous system can cause the fontanelle to bulge meaning an infants head can be larger than expected
  • Signs and symptoms in infants can include:
    • Sleepiness
    • Vomiting
  • Some symptoms in older children can include:
    • Change in personality or memory
    • Changes in facial appearance and eye spacing
    • Muscle spasticity
    • Slow growth
    • Difficulty in feeding
  • Treatment is often surgical and includes types of cerebral shunts
  • Hydrocephalus has been traced back and found in ancient Egyptian medical literate from 2500BC to 500AD


Spina Bifida;

  • Spina Bifida is a developmental congenital disorder caused by the embryonic neural tube not closing completely. Vertebrae which overlay the spinal cord do not fully form and remain unfused and open
  • Dependent on the size of this opening it can allow a portion of the spinal cord to protrude
  • There are three categories of Spina Bifida:
    • Spina Bifida occulta
    • Spina Bifida cystica with meningocele
    • Spina Bifida cystica with myelomeningocele
    • Physical signs and symptoms can include;
    • Leg weakness and paralysis
    • Orthopaedic abnormalities
    • Pressure sores
    • Abnormal eye movement
    • Bladder and bowel control problems
    • Allergy to latex
  • Spina Bifida cystica with myelomeningocele can cause neurological complications which in 90% of patients can lead to hydrocephalus
  • During pregnancy dietary supplementation with folic acid has been linked to reducing the possibility of Spina Bifida
  • At present there is no known cure for nerve damage caused by Spina Bifida


Shine Charity is working hard to raise the awareness of these medical conditions and offers support and information to individuals, families and professionals. Visit their website if you would like further information or would like to be involved with this charity.