Microcephaly is a neurological disorder in which a newborn's head is much smaller than it should be for a baby of his size and age.
It is usually diagnosed as soon as it is born, since one of the tests performed on the newborn is the measurement of the head circumference. If this is 33 centimeters or less in a full-term baby, that is, after 37 weeks of gestation, it may suffer from microcephaly.
Microcephaly is a malformation that usually occurs during the development of the baby in the womb. The brain stops growing at a normal rate and this fact may be due to:
- IViral infections to which the mother was exposed such as rubella, toxoplasmosis or Zika virus.
- Nutritional problems such as uncontrolled diabetes in the mother and malnutrition.
- Bad habits such as alcoholism or drug abuse.
- Lack of oxygen during labor or after the baby is born can cause damage to the brain and lead to microcephaly.
- The premature closure of the sutures of the skull, which is the site where the growth of the skull occurs.
The most obvious symptom is a head that is smaller than it should be, although children with this disorder also suffer from:
- Balance and coordination problems.
- Psychomotor disorders.
- Developmental delay.
- Facial distortion.
- Sometimes it is also associated with mental retardation.
There is no treatment that will cure microcephaly. It is a lifelong disease and there are no methods that can correct it. Treatment therefore focuses on improving the quality of life of children affected by microcephaly by relieving their symptoms, such as performing speech, physical and occupational therapy.
If the cause of microcephaly is premature closure of the skull sutures, sometimes craniostenosis is performed, which consists of reopening these sutures so that the skull grows and therefore allows the brain to grow as well.
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