Spina Bifida is a term used to describe a series of birth defects that affect the central nervous system and the spine. The most common type is called spina bifida myelomeningocele, and it involves a baby being born with several vertebrae of their spine exposed, opening up the body’s nervous system to infection. Symptoms vary in severity, but partial or total paralysis of the lower limbs is common, as is a build up of cerebral fluid in the brain, that must be drained regularly to avoid placing the brain under undue pressure. Fortunately, advancements in surgery have meant that children born with the condition with survive into adulthood and lead independent lives. The causes are not totally understood, but are there is a genetic factor, as well as a lack of folic acid during pregnancy.
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