Diagnosis Information

What is Spina Bifida?

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The neural tube is embryonic tissue from which the brain and spinal cord develop. Failure to close can result in serious birth defects including spina bifida. There are three main types of spina bifida: spina bifida occulta, meningocele and myelomeningocele. Spina bifida occulta is the most common form and the mildest. One or more vertebrae are malformed and are usually covered by a layer of skin. This form of spina bifida rarely causes disability. Meningocele is where the spinal cord develops normally but the meninges (the protective covering around the brain and spinal cord) protrude from a spinal opening. The protuberances may or may not […]

Diagnosis Information

What is Hydrocephalus?

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Translated from Latin, hydrocephalus means “water on the brain.” This condition is an excessive accumulation of fluid in the brain. The “water” is actually cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) – a clear fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The excessive accumulation of CSF results in an abnormal widening of spaces in the brain called ventricles. This widening creates potentially harmful pressure on the tissues of the brain. Congenital hydrocephalus is present at birth and can be caused by genetic abnormalities or a problem during fetal development. It is one of the most common causes of developmental disabilities. In some cases, such as hydrancephaly and holoprosencephaly, the […]

Anencephaly

What is Anencephaly?

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Anencephaly is a neural tube defect considered incompatible with life. It occurs when the head end of the neural tube fails to close around the third and fourth weeks of pregnancy. This results in the absence of major portions of the brain, usually the frontal lobe and cerebrum (the portions of the brain responsible for thinking and cognition.) The remaining brain tissue is often exposed, not covered by bone or skin. Most babies with this genetic disorder do not survive and those who do are usually blind, deaf, unconscious, and unable to feel pain. For more information on anencephaly, visit: NINDS – Anencephaly National Institute […]

D&E

My Interrupted Pregnancies

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By Julie In my gut, I knew something wasn’t right with my second pregnancy. The pregnancy test had a faint line and I didn’t have the severe morning sickness that I had previously. At 6 weeks, 2 days gestation I had an ultrasound and saw the heartbeat, but they wanted to see me two weeks later. When I returned, there was no heartbeat, and the baby measured only 6 weeks, 3 days—I had miscarried. Many of my friends and family had been through a miscarriage, and while it was emotionally hard, I figured that it was somewhat par for the course. Once my cycle came back, we decided to try […]