Microcephaly in children: clinical symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

Microcephaly is a serious disease that occurs no more than once per 10,000 births. With congenital microcephaly in children, a small-sized skull is formed, accompanied by brain underdevelopment, mental retardation, and various mental and neurological abnormalities.

In microcephaly in the brain, there are signs of severe malformations: the corpus callosum agenesis, macro- and microgyria, heterotopies, lysencephaly. Brains of the brain have a flattened appearance, the tertiary grooves are completely absent. In most cases, patients with microcephaly remain underdeveloped: the brain stem, the pyramids of the medulla oblongata, the optic tubercle, the cerebellum, the temporal lobes and the frontal lobes.

Patients with microcephaly have a characteristic appearance with a disproportionate ratio between normal body size and a small underdeveloped skull. Among the causes of oligophrenia, a large percentage belongs to brain microcephaly.

Types of microcephaly

Microcephaly is divided into primary and secondary.

Primary microcephaly is a genetic developmental defect that formed at an early stage of pregnancy. This species, as a rule, is combined with other coarse anomalies of the development of the brain - the genesis of the corpus callosum, agiriya and other pathologies.

Secondary microcephaly in the fetus occurs in the later stages of pregnancy and is formed against the background of hypoxia, intoxication, mechanical trauma or intrauterine infection (cytomegalovirus encephalitis, rubella, toxoplasmosis). With microcephaly of the secondary type, calcification, cystic cavities, and foci of hemorrhage are often formed in the brain tissue.

Causes of microcephaly

The list of harmful factors, the negative impact of which could potentially lead to the intrauterine occurrence of microcephaly in a future newborn, can be as long as you wish.

Possible pathogenic causes of microcephaly include the effects of radiation on the body of the expectant mother, medication during pregnancy, low water during pregnancy, past infectious diseases, genetic abnormalities, etc.

As a rule, in most cases, it is extremely rare for the parents of a sick child diagnosed with microcephaly to establish the specific reason for the occurrence of this prenatal pathology in their baby.

Symptoms of microcephaly

The clinical picture of microcephaly is as follows:

- disproportionately developed facial and cerebral skull,

- protruding eyebrows,

- beveled narrow forehead,

- spring is overgrown in the first month of life, or is closed at the time of birth,

- incoordination,

- signs of mental retardation, mental retardation.

Treatment of microcephaly

Unfortunately, modern treatment of microcephaly is mainly in the symptomatic support of the patient with the help of drugs, as well as comprehensive rehabilitation measures aimed at maximum adaptation and socialization of the child.

As a drug therapy for the treatment of microcephaly, drugs that improve metabolic processes in the brain tissue are used - nootropil (piracetam), cerebrolysin, pyriditol, encephabol, vitamin complexes, etc.

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The information is generalized and is provided for informational purposes only. At the first signs of illness, consult a doctor. Self-treatment is dangerous for health!

Hello. Help me please. The child was diagnosed with microcephaly at birth. He is a prematch Og 29 cm Ogre 31 cm tall 45 cm at birth. After a month, the weight is 4,000 kg, height 49 cm, Og 33 cm, Ogre 35, everything is fine with development, holds her head, reacts to sounds, she recognizes her mother by voice. The spring was already closed (but both her husband and his relatives were also born closed springflows) is microcephaly possible? On the development of everything is normal.

By the way the weight of the child at birth was 2500 kg

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What is microcephaly?

Microcephaly is a disease in which there is a decrease in the mass of the brain and, accordingly, a decrease in the size of the skull, head circumference. In this case, the other organs develop in accordance with age norms. Such changes in brain conditions cause the development of mental deficiency and neurological abnormalities.

According to statistics, the disease occurs in 1 child out of 10,000, the relationship between the sex of the child and the occurrence of microcephaly is not detected.

Microcephaly causes serious mental abnormalities. And it can be, as easy imbicity, and deep idiocy. Modern medicine does not give comforting predictions for such children. Full recovery is impossible, the main task of doctors and parents is the restoration of physical activity, teaching the child basic self-service skills.

Diagnosis of microcephaly

Antenatal diagnostics, carried out with the help of the ultrasound machine, suggest the development of microcephaly in the fetus. Such conclusions are made after comparing the data obtained in the course of the examination on the sizes of the head and body of the child with the normal values. In this case, reliable information is possible only with the most accurate determination of the timing of pregnancy. In order to avoid obtaining false-positive or false-negative data, a comparison is made between the circumference of the fetal head and the abdominal circumference, the overall size of the body. However, reliable information on the presence or absence of microcephaly of the fetus can be obtained not earlier than the 27th week of pregnancy.

If there is a suspicion of the development of the disease, the pregnant woman should undergo an invasive prenatal diagnosis, as well as karyotyping of the fetus.

Invasive diagnostics is the study of chromosome and gene mutations. It can only be possible if the amniotic bubble is punctured, because the material for analysis is amniotic fluid, epithelium particles or villi of the fetus, which are in amniotic fluid.

To obtain statistics on the probability of having a baby with microcephaly allows prenatal screening, which is a complex of laboratory and ultrasound studies. Thanks to these procedures, it is possible to identify the belonging of a pregnant woman to the risk group of women whose fetus is susceptible to the development of microcephaly.

Prenatal screening involves ultrasound and biochemical blood tests. In addition, the patient fills out a questionnaire of a special form in which, among other questions, there is a column on the duration of pregnancy. The questionnaire data, test results and indicators obtained during ultrasound are processed using a special computer program that gives information on the degree of risk of many fetal diseases, including microcephaly.

Diagnosis of the newborn is carried out in the first minutes of his life based on the visual parameters of the volume of the baby’s head. If microcephaly is confirmed, a more serious comprehensive examination is required (MRI of the brain, roentgenography of the skull, neurosonography).

When a child with this disease is born, parents are recommended to be examined by a geneticist to identify the causes of the pathology, as well as to consult on how to avoid gene mutations during repeated pregnancy.

Prognosis of microcephaly

Projections for microcephaly, unfortunately, are disappointing, because it is impossible to completely recover from this disease. Prescribed treatment has, rather, a supporting effect, trying to ensure that the functioning of the affected organs is close to normal.

The prognosis also depends on the diagnosis. Thus, with shallow imbicity, the child’s upbringing and education can result in mastering the patient with insignificant speech skills; children are able to carry out simple tasks, are able to hold a spoon on their own, and express wishes.

With oligophrenia or idiocy, patients are most often unable to move, they lack speech and understanding of what is happening around. It is also important form of microcephaly. So, with primary microcephaly, complex treatment can be relatively effective - the child will be able to lead a simple life in society. If microcephaly is secondary, the child will probably not even be able to sit, will not learn to stand.

In addition to the inability to get rid of the disease, it should be mentioned that the child’s immune system is vulnerable. High mortality of children from infectious diseases.

As a rule, children are placed in special institutions for mentally retarded children, where they are trying to teach them the necessary skills of self-service, or are at home.

General information

Microcephaly (microcephaly) is a severe malformation of the central nervous system, which is based on a decrease in the mass of the brain and a decrease in the circumference of the skull by more than two or three sigma deviations compared with the average age and sex indicators. Various forms of microcephaly occur with a frequency of 1 case per 10,000 children, in equal proportions among boys and girls. Microcephaly causes oligophrenia in 10% of cases. At birth, the head circumference in a child with microcephaly, as a rule, does not exceed 25-27 cm (at a rate of 35-37 cm), and the brain mass is 250 g (normally about 400 g).

Prognosis and prevention of microcephaly

The prognosis for life expectancy and socialization is variable. Some children are capable of training in a correctional school, mastering the elementary skills of self-service. In general, the prognosis for microcephaly is unfavorable: the life expectancy of such patients is reduced, most of them are in special care for the mentally retarded.

Prevention of microcephaly in children involves careful planning of pregnancy, infection testing (TORCH-complex, PCR), antenatal protection of the fetus. Early intrauterine detection of microcephaly is the basis for resolving the issue of artificial termination of pregnancy. Genetic counseling for families with children with microcephaly is necessary to assess the potential risk in subsequent pregnancies.

Causes of the disease

There are many risk factors for the development of microcephaly, but it is often not possible to say exactly which causes of the disease in each individual case:

  • wrong lifestyle of a pregnant woman is one of the urgent problems of modern society. Abuse of alcohol, tobacco, drugs, intoxication of the fetus, which manifests itself in violation of the development of the nervous system,
  • infectious diseases in the period of conception or in the first trimester of pregnancy contribute to fetal fetal abnormalities. Cytomegalovirus, simple and genital herpes, rubella, toxoplasmosis, measles, HIV infection, mumps,
  • long and uncontrolled medication, in particular, antibiotics,
  • professional activities of women associated with prolonged contact with toxic substances, heavy metals, radiation,
  • insufficient intake of minerals and vitamins during pregnancy,
  • hereditary diseases: phenylketonuria, Down syndrome, Patau, "cat's cry", Edwards and others.

The above reasons do not constitute a complete list, as scientists have so far failed to figure out why children with microcephaly are born from healthy parents.

Clinical symptoms

The small size of the brain in microcephaly is most often detected during the examination, the circumference of the head of the sick child is much smaller than that of a healthy baby, which manifests itself visually. In addition to the small size of the head, you can see bulging big ears, bulging eyebrows on the background of a narrow sloping forehead.

The standard pediatric examination includes measuring the size of a large fontanel, with this pathology it is completely closed or has small dimensions. The muscle tone of these children is reduced, because of this coordination of movement is disturbed, and convulsive syndrome often occurs.

Due to the delay in development, the weight and height of the child lag behind the values ​​that correspond to the age. Children learn to hold their heads up much later, and later to sit and walk. Due to the decrease in the volume of the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, almost all children develop strabismus and delayed development and understanding of speech, decreased visual and hearing acuity, as well as intellectual disabilities. But if signs of mental retardation are mild, then such children are able to learn, perform simple tasks and self-serve themselves.

The consequences of a severe course, improper care for a sick child may be as follows:

  • cerebral palsy, or cerebral palsy, - a set of signs: a violation of motor functions and anomalies of the central nervous system,
  • hydrocephalus is a process characterized by the accumulation of fluid in the ventricles of the brain with subsequent compression of its structures,
  • decrease in life expectancy due to severe damage to the nervous system,
  • symptomatic epilepsy - multiple attacks with a sudden onset, loss of cognition and seizures.

Depending on the severity of the disease, child development and care, there are two groups:

  • the first includes children who are characterized by passive behavior, lethargy, inactivity, indifference to everything around,
  • the second group of patients with microcephaly is not emotionally stable, but such children are friendly, love to play, learn, are more good-natured.

Due to the correct approach to a child with such a diagnosis, some babies with microcephalias develop quite normally, they have minimal deviations from the norm during adulthood.

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