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Spina Bifida - Research Paper Example

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Name Instructor Course Date Introduction Spina bifida is a birth defect that arises during the first month of pregnancy while the embryo is nearly the size of a rice grain. It refers to a divided/split spine and its cause is not definitely known, although it is probable that the deficiency of folic acid during a pregnancy’s crucial weeks sometimes brings about the problem…
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Spina Bifida Research Paper
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Download file to see previous pages Types of Spina Bifida Spina bifida may either be closed (spina bifida occulta) or open. Spina bifida occulta is often known as hidden spina bifida since it does not cause any apparent symptoms because it is very mild. The only way through which some individuals discover that they are suffering from it is during an X-ray for some other purpose. The spina bifida Association documents that roughly 10-20% of otherwise healthy persons have spina bifida occulta. In spina bifida occulta, a small hole appears in the vertebrae of the spinal column. However, the spinal cord itself is not damaged. The outward markings of this condition only appear as a darker-colored skin, a small patch of hair, dimple, or protuberance in the skin above the vertebrae affected. These signs are visible on the lower back, generally above the flat set of bones just above the buttocks (the sacrum). In most cases, people with this condition do not require any treatment since the spinal cord itself is not hurt. The other type of spina bifida is referred to as meningocele, whereby the spinal cord does not form well. In this condition, a sac (the mengiocele), which contains some spinal fluid as well as the coatings that protect the spinal cord protrudes through the hole. This sac can be taken out through surgery. In this condition, the spinal cord is not affected and its victims only experience mild disabilities. It is the most uncommon spina bifida type (Watson, 6&7). Myelomeningocele is another commonest and very serious type of spina bifida. The spinal canal as well as the backbone fails to close before birth and there is an opening at the back of infants suffering from this condition with the spinal cord nerves as well as the spine’s protective coatings protruding. At times, skin coats the sac. This condition may also expose the spinal cord exposing the infant to hazardous infections. Nowadays, unlike long ago, most of these infants survive after going through surgery, soon after birth, in order to close their backs. Seeing that myelomeningocele affects the spinal cord’s nerves, it can bring about paralysis of leg muscles to some extent the lower up on the back the damage occurs, the less severe the paralysis and vice versa. Loss of sensation may occur in the legs due to the non-functioning part of the spine and this may result to orthopedic defects. Moreover, this condition interferes with normal bladder as well as bowel control in the affected children as they are not in a position to work the muscles that are in charge of these functions. Nerve damage also makes it hard for them to sense the need to go to the bathroom (Watson, 7 & Sandler, 1). Sandler also points out the fact that hydrocephalus (a collection of excess cerebrospinal fluid) is another complication that is common in infants suffering from spina bifida. Hydrocephalus is treated through the placement of a shunt to draw off the excess fluid. Diagnosis and Prevention Prenatal tests such as ultrasound and the alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), test have made it possible for expectant mothers to know if their babies are suffering from spina bifida. It is important to note that the prevention of many cases of spina bifida is possible if mothers of take 0.4 milligrams of folic acid daily, and go on consuming it all through the first trimester. For best protection, the consumption of folic acid should begin before ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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