Tuesday, June 9, 2015

30 Days to BEE Hydranencephaly Aware - How?

Day 9 of the #30daystoBEEhydranencephalyaware is tackling yet another huge misconception - the "how".

How does this happen?

How does a child become hydrancephalic?

Hydranencephaly generally, in most cases, has no identifiable cause. Though there are several possibilities – there is often a huge misconception that drug use or lack of prenatal care causes severe developmental disabilities such as hydranencephaly… not always the case.

Hydranencephaly is a cephalic condition - there are several and there are some areas of crossover in diagnosing. For example, hydranencephaly is a severe form of porencephaly and the combination of two other cephalic conditions: hydrocephalus and anencephaly. You can read about all of this in another post: Thankful Thursday: Passion

But again, how does this happen?

Contrary to popular belief and misinformation given by medical professionals - this isn't caused by the underdevelopment of the brain. In actuality, the damage that causes hydranencephaly happens AFTER the brain has developed... after the first trimester of pregnancy and even in to infancy.

From Wikipedia (I only reference this definition because I wrote it):

Hydranencephaly is an extreme form of porencephaly, which is characterized by a cyst or cavity in the cerebral hemispheres.

Although the exact cause of hydranencephaly remains undetermined in most cases, the most likely general cause is by vascular insult such as stroke or injury, intrauterine infections, or traumatic disorders after the first trimester of pregnancy. In a number of cases where intrauterine infection was determined the causing factor, most involved toxoplasmosis and viral infections such as enterovirus, adenovirus, parvovirus, cytomegalic, herpes simplex, Epstein-Barr, and syncytial viruses. Another cause factor is determined to be monochorionic twin pregnancies, involving the death of one twin in the second trimester, which in turn causes vascular exchange to the living twin through placental circulation through twin-to-twin transfusion, causing hydranencephaly in the surviving fetus.[6] One medical journal reports hydranencephaly as an autosomal inherited disorder with an unknown mode of transmission, where an unknown blockage of the carotid artery where it enters the cranium causes obstruction and damage to the cerebral cortex.[3]

As a recessive genetic condition, both parents must carry the asymptomatic gene and pass it along to their child, a chance of 25 percent. Despite determination of cause, hydranencephaly inflicts both males and females in equal numbers.

Though hydranencephaly is typically a congenital disorder, it can occur as a postnatal diagnosis in the aftermath of meningitis, intracerebral infarction, and ischemia (stroke), or other traumatic brain injury.
So to make that a simple explanation - "something" generally unidentifiable happens to cause traumatic brain injury to a baby after it's brain has developed. As development continues, that severely damaged brain is essentially reabsorbed by the body - the tissue is no longer there. 

Share this graphic around your social media sites to raise awareness of the causes of hydranencephaly. If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact us anytime!30

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