Neural Tube Defects

Neural Tube Defects
Babies with neural tube defects often have problems with water retention in the head. One-third of patients with hydrocephalus require reoperation. This disease can cause the brain to slip down (Chiari malformation), causing shortness of breath. Some may also have fluid build-up inside the nerve cord (syringes). Due to these reasons, the patient may have weakness in both legs and lack of urinary control.

Neural Tube Defects in Infants

Neural tube defects usually occur early in pregnancy. Recently, the results of a multi-university coordinated study on neural tube defects have been published. Many environmental factors have also been found behind this. For example, the presence of high levels of arsenic in the case of the father and the deficiency of folic acid and zinc in the mother. High levels of selenium have also been shown to be responsible.

Causes of Neural Tube Defects

Neural tube defects can have many causes. For example, they can be genetic due to chromosomal abnormalities or due to metabolic effects and harmful substances. A neural tube defect can also be triggered by a viral infection, for example rubella, high fever or radiation exposure through X-rays or a CT scan, or premature pregnancy. In addition, women who take contraceptives and women with type 1 diabetes are also at risk, especially if they are poorly controlled. Folic acid deficiency is another possible cause

What to do in Neural Tube Defects

Folic acid or vitamin B-9 should be taken three months before conception to prevent neural tube defects in newborns. In our country government hospitals have adequate supply of the medicine free of cost.

Sources of folic acid are spinach, broccoli, kidney beans, seafood, liver, lentils and other green leafy vegetables. However, this vitamin is lost if boiled at high heat or cut into small pieces and washed with water. The conventional method of cooking our vegetables hinders the availability of folic acid. The way out of this system is to add folic acid to food, so that everyone can get enough folic acid.

In some cases, neural tube defects may be best treated within 72 hours of birth. In some cases, three months of age is the appropriate time for surgery. Pediatric orthopedics, physical medicine, and orthosis specialists are needed for patients with leg weaknesses and problems. Urologists administer clean intermittent catheterization to control urination. Parents should learn how to drain urine through the catheter at regular intervals in a sterile manner. Pediatric surgeons sometimes perform surgery for stool control

Symptoms of Neural Tube Defects

The symptoms of spina bifida depend on the damage to the spine and the external arm with a gap created in the spinal neural tube. As a result of milder forms of spina bifida, sufferers are often unaware of their deformity unless a doctor detects it through an X-ray examination. Such neural tube defects cause non-specific complaints such as back pain, skin changes in the region of the spinal cord defect or weakness of the sphincter sac. Paraplegia.

Other symptoms may include scoliosis (a curvature of the spine), muscle atrophy, and joint deformities. Spina bifida rarely causes brain damage. However, some children develop hydrocephalus, which is when the end of the cerebellum protrudes into the spinal canal. It does not cause brain damage, but it can affect the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid. However, most affected children have normal intelligence.

Diagnosis of Neural Tube Defects

A neural tube defect is usually detected by ultrasound examination. Major neural tube defects are visible as early as twelve weeks' gestation. Less pronounced spinal abnormalities are detectable between sixteen and twenty weeks. However, an amniocentesis may also be necessary if the fetus is difficult to assess posteriorly or if there is a high risk. Less conclusive is the triple test (blood test) in the fourth month of pregnancy.

Complications of Neural Tube Defects

Whether complications arise from neural tube defects depends on where the defect is located. For example, a particularly extreme form of neural tube defects, anencephaly, is incompatible with life because large parts of the brain do not even form in this case. The newborn dies after a few weeks. A second form of neural tube defect, spina bifida shows different appearances with different effects. Therefore, the defect may go completely unnoticed unless the spine is involved.

If the spinal cord is involved and the defect is open with exposure to neural tissue, the neural tube must be surgically closed after birth or even earlier, otherwise, there is a risk of serious infection, which can be fatal. Most patients require lifelong care after this. In severe cases, sufferers are at risk of paraplegia. Some patients suffer from urinary and rectal incontinence. Sometimes both the spine and the brain are affected. In this case, the mental development of the child can also be negatively affected. However, in this case, it is not possible to give a specific statement about prior permission. In most cases, children develop normally intellectually. Often there is also a neurogenic cyst, which requires continuous medical treatment, otherwise the loss of kidney function can develop as a complication.

When should you see a Doctor for Neural Tube Defects?

Closely observed neural tube defects occur during the first trimester of pregnancy. That is why it is so important that women attend regularly scheduled preventive examinations. In this context, a neural tube defect fetus can be identified and treated. Thus, postnatal outcomes can at best capture the extent to which the child can lead a generally normal life. If a neural tube defect is already so severe that the child is born with disabilities, the woman can still decide to delay the abortion. Screening during pregnancy is important to detect any nutritional deficiencies and other risk factors for a neural tube defect and timing interventions.

If a baby is born with a neural tube defect, the pediatrician needs and must determine immediately after birth that ultrasound images relate to the actual condition of the newborn. Many newborns require surgery soon after birth, depending on the type and severity of the neural tube defect, because earlier treatment performed, congenital neural tube defects can be better treated. Any surgical wound also heals very well at a very young age and can almost disappear later in life. Thus, the newborn can still have a normal life.

Prevention of Neural Tube Defects

The best preventative measure against neural tube defects is an adequate supply of folic acid at the very beginning of pregnancy, at the latest, and even better when the desire to give birth is expressed. A developing baby needs this vitamin for its cells, tissues and organs. It plays an important role in brain and spinal cord development. An adequate folic acid supply reduces the risk of neural tube defects by half.

A Final Word on Neural Tube Defects

We can prevent this birth defect in newborns through some very simple awareness. In addition to folic acid deficiency, studies have identified several other causes of this disease. In that case, even if the full dose of folic acid is taken, the prevalence of the disease will remain, even if it is very small.

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