Microcephaly, which has been a rather rare and poorly understood condition for the general population Recently, has gained recognition due to its relationship with Zika virus infections during pregnancy.
In this article, we will describe what microcephaly is and what are the main reasons, its symptoms, its diagnosis, and the options for treatment.
Let’s discuss microcephaly generally, which is linked to a variety of distinct illnesses which including Zika. If you’re seeking specific information on Zika fever microcephaly then visit this link: ZIKA FEBRE – Causes symptoms, symptoms, microcephaly, and Treatment.
WHAT IS MICROCEPHALY?
The size of a child’s head is directly proportional in proportion to their brain. If the brain size of the child expands, so does his skull in the same proportion.
Our skull is comprised of six bones which are separated at birth from each other by the”fontanelles” (milliers). This permits the skull to grow as the brain develops.
The brain actually pushes the skull’s bones which causes the skull to grow. The rate of expansion is the highest in the first few months, but it slows down as the skull’s fontanelles narrow and restricts the capacity to expand the skull.
If for some reason, the fetus is not able to develop the brain in the uterus. It may have less skull than was expected. These are referred to as congenital microcephaly.
It is also possible to acquire microcephaly. The baby may have normal development during the early stages of development, however, the brain could cease to grow upon birth. As time passes the body of your child will expand faster than the skull of your child, making your head appear smaller than what you expected. The cases that occur following birth are referred to as acquired microcephaly.
CRITERIA FOR MICROCEPHALY
Microcephaly is a term that that is used in the introduction to the article can be as straightforward as is possible the definition of a head that is less than that required for children with similar size and age.
In reality, it is necessary to have a more precise definition that includes the use of percentages or numbers to ensure that a comparison with the majority of people can be established.
Historically, the definition of the science of microcephaly was always quite complicated and difficult to comprehend for laypeople. The two most popular configurations are:
Occipitofrontal diameter (COF) is not more than two standard deviations lower than the mean or less than the third percentile (mild microcephaly).
Occipitofrontal circumference (COF) is less than 3 standard deviations lower than the average (severe microcephaly).
In order to apply the criteria above to apply the criteria, one should be aware of how standard deviation works. Also, one must have a table that contains the circles of circumferential occipitofrontal circumference for different age groups, taking into account the specific characteristics of the particular population.
Due to the rise of Zika cases in pregnancy, The incidence of microcephaly was accelerated and the diagnosis had to be made simpler at least for infants.
To aid in facilitating and enhancing the detection of microcephaly cases, to make it easier for patients and doctors to detect microcephaly, the World Health Organization (WHO) has begun to suggest microcephaly as a straightforward test using a measuring tape for head circumference (skull circumference) as seen in the photograph that begins the article.
Cephalic perimeters of boys less than or equivalent to 31.9 cm or girls with cephalic dimensions less than or equivalent to 31.5 millimeters are thought to be microcephalic.
It is vital to stress that this criterion is only applicable to full-term and newborn children who are greater than 37 weeks gestation.
This criterion is not helpful to determine the presence of congenital or acquired microcephaly in infants who are preterm.
CAUSES OF MICROCEPHALY
Many diseases can trigger microcephaly. They range from genetic disorders and drugs during pregnancy as well as infections and trauma.
Below, we’ll provide a list of the possible reasons:
Genetic or chromosomal origin like Down Syndrome, Poland, Edward, Patau, Rett microcephaly, X-linked microcephaly, and many other conditions.
Problems with childbirth or pregnancy can result in a lack of oxygen supply to the infant’s cerebral cortex (hypoxic encephalopathy).
Craniosynostosis (early conjoining of the skull bone).
Infections that occur during pregnancy include rubella, cytomegalovirus or toxoplasmosis, and syphilis, HIV, or Zika.
- The use of teratogenic medications during pregnancy.
- Maternal malnutrition.
- Drinking alcohol during the course of pregnancy.
- Pregnancy-related drug use like marijuana, heroin, or cocaine.
- Smoking during pregnancy.
- Radiation exposure.
- Maternal folate deficiency.
- Maternal metabolic disorders include the condition known as phenylketonuria.
- Mother’s poisoning is caused by lead or mercury.
- Diabetes mellitus is poorly managed during pregnancy.
- Stroke in newborns.
Although the list above is extensive and not comprehensive, however, many cases of microcephaly result in remaining undiagnosed. It is usually because they are the result of genetic disorders which aren’t studied at the place they live or through accidental exposure to harmful chemical substances, or through prenatal infections not identified during pregnancy.
SYMPTOMS OF MICROCEPHALY
The sign that is present in all instances of microcephaly is a tiny head that is proportional to the body. The possibility of microcephaly causing a delay in the development of intellectual abilities is usually apparent upon physical examination.
Certain patients suffering from mild microcephaly don’t have any other indications or symptoms apart from a head that is lower than the normal for the general population. In these cases, known as isolated microcephaly, or microcephaly vera, the intellectual capabilities can be completely or almost retained.
In the majority of instances, however, it is often accompanied by other symptoms and signs, regardless of whether they result from insufficient brain development or the disorders themselves that hinder the proper development of the skull and the brain.
Based on the extent of the accompanying disorder The children who suffer from microcephaly can be diagnosed with:
- Late intellectual development.
- The delay in speech development.
- Baby developmental milestones are delayed (sit or stand crawl and stroll… )
- Motor incoordination.
- The rigidity of the muscles (spasticity).
- Face distortions.
Physical changes that are typical of the genetic disorder of which the sufferer is a carrier (such as Down’s Syndrome for instance).
- Convulsive crisis.
- Aural or visual deficits.
DIAGNOSIS OF MICROCEPHALY
The diagnosis can be established even during pregnancy by ultrasound of the fetus, which can be used to determine what size is the skull of the fetus. The most appropriate time for this test is at the close of the second trimester, in the course of an examination known as “morphological ultrasound”.
While fetal ultrasonography may be normal the head circumference of the newborn must be measured 24 hours after the birth. If you’re normally the pediatrician should record the measurements at regular appointments until your child is two years old and the fontanelles have been closed.
If, at any point, the pediatrician suspects microcephaly the child needs to be referred to a specialist pediatrician.
Certain imaging tests, including magnetic resonance imaging, can reveal important information about the structure of the brain of a baby which can help to confirm microcephaly and provide suggestions on the possible reasons.
TREATMENT OF MICROCEPHALY
While there isn’t a solution, there exist ways that can help alleviate the symptoms caused by microcephaly.
As mentioned earlier, infants who have mild microcephaly usually show with no other issues apart from a small head. They only require monitoring and no treatment is needed.
For infants with craniosynostosis, there are procedures that can assist in dissociating the skull bones from the bones which allow the brain to expand without limiting it.
In children who suffer from more severe conditions The treatment is aimed at combating the symptoms and signs, like seizures, muscle stiffness or delayed speech development, etc.
The prognosis for neurological patients is directly linked to the severity of microcephaly. It is more severe when the occipitofrontal radius is lower than 3 standard deviations above the mean, and in patients who suffer from microcephaly due to more serious genetic conditions or infections during pregnancy.