The Effects of Hydrocephalus

hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalus affects over 500,000 children worldwide. Hydrocephalus can be caused by infection, genetic anomalies, or head injuries. The reason hydrocephalus causes the heads of infants to grow so incredibly large is because all babies are born with soft, mailable skulls which are capable of expanding over 3x its typical size within the first 12 – 18 months after birth. Hydrocephalus is caused because the valve located between the left and right brain hemispheres which drains cerebrospinal fluid down the spine and into the abdomen, becomes blocked. When medical examinations are available, hydrocephalus can be diagnosed in utero allowing for immediate intervention. When the severity of hydrocephalus is diagnosed via computed tomography scan, the brain does not show up, as the water present takes up so much volume that the cavity where the brain would normally be, shows up as black, as water obstructs the ability of the scanner to take a complete image. The most common intervention of hydrocephalus is the installation of a shunt, but shunts have an 80% failure rate causing future uncertainty for those who have experienced hydrocephalus. Uganda has an unusually high occurrence rate of hydrocephalus primarily due to high rates of infant infection and lack of medical facilities and care

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