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Diseases » Microcephaly » Wikipedia
 

Microcephaly in Wikipedia

Note:Wikipedia is a user-contributed encyclopedia and may not have been reviewed by professional editors (See full Wikipedia disclaimer)

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Microcephaly". (Source - Retrieved 2006-09-07 14:12:06 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microcephaly)

Introduction

Microcephaly is a neurological disorder in which the circumference of the head is smaller than average for the person's age and gender. Microcephaly may be congenital or it may develop in the first few years of life. The disorder may stem from a wide variety of conditions that cause abnormal growth of the brain, or from syndromes associated with chromosomal abnormalities. A mutation of the ASPM gene causes autosomal recessive primary microcephaly.

Infants with microcephaly are born with either a normal or reduced head size. Subsequently the head fails to grow while the face continues to develop at a normal rate, producing a child with a small head and a receding forehead, and a loose, often wrinkled scalp. As the child grows older, the smallness of the skull becomes more obvious, although the entire body also is often underweight and dwarfed. Development of motor functions and speech may be delayed. Hyperactivity and mental retardation are common occurrences, although the degree of each varies. Convulsions may also occur. Motor ability varies, ranging from clumsiness in some to spastic quadriplegia in others.

Generally there is no specific treatment for microcephaly. Treatment is symptomatic and supportive.

In general, life expectancy for individuals with microcephaly is reduced and the prognosis for normal brain function is poor. The prognosis varies depending on the presence of associated abnormalities.

Famous microcephalics

  • Beetlejuice, the stage name of Lester Green, a well-loved star of Howard Stern's Wack Pack
  • Zip the Pinhead, circus performer
  • Schlitzie in the movie Freaks
 

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