What Is Microcephaly?
Microcephaly is defined as head circumference that is abnormally small, usually defined as greater than two standard deviations below the mean for age and sex. It can be present at birth or it can develop later.
Microcephaly can be harmless, particularly when it is present at birth. This is called primary microcephaly. Some people have microcephaly and have no neurologic dysfunction. Just the size of the head is not necessarily going to mean they have any physical or mental delays or disabilities or delays. But microcephaly at birth can also be a harbinger of cerebral palsy.
Microcephaly (small brain) can result from microcephaly. This is because there is no reason for the head to grow if brain growth is slow and the volume increase requires less head growth. Conversely, microcephaly can be an issue because the condition itself restricts the growth of the brain. Why do some kids with microcephalic kids avoid a brain injury? Doctors are not entirely sure.
Microcephaly can result from a number of conditions. Microcephaly is sometimes caused by genetic abnormalities that interfere with the growth of the cerebral cortex during the early months of fetal development.
Microcephaly can be caused by a viral infection of the fetus, particularly with cytomegalovirus, Rubella, syphilis, or the herpes virus. It can also be caused by genetic defects. In most cases that result in birth injury lawyers, the microcephaly is caused by the brain not receiving adequate amounts of oxygen or nutrients during the embryonic and fetal life such that the brain did not grow. In these cases, the fetus usually needs to be delivered quickly because of oxygen deprivation.
Maternal exposure to drugs, alcohol, tobacco may cause microcephaly as may SSRIs and toxic metals like arsenic or mercury.
We also see cases of microcephaly in conjunction with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) from a variety of genetic and environmental causes.
While not much of a problem in the United States, exposure to the Zika virus greatly increases the risk of having a child with microcephaly.
Microcephaly is not curable even when there is a harmless presentation at birth.
It is easy to test for microcephaly. You just measure the head circumference. When you are concerned about what a small head circumference might mean, you would consider a variety of testing including a CT scan, an MRI, and blood, and urine tests. Many parents put off a CT or MRI because while it might provide answers, those answers may not change the immediate course of treatment. These tests often require sedation so the child does not move.
Testing for delayed onset microcephaly is far more difficult.
As we have been saying, microcephaly can be detected at birth or it can present later in childhood, usually several months after birth.
Microcephaly is rare. Statistics suggest that only one baby in several thousand are born with microcephaly.
Microcephaly can be inherited. Normally, it is a parent who has no symptoms of a brain injury who has microcephaly. When microcephaly is inherited, it is a familial characteristic usually associated with normal development.
But there is an extremely rare disorder called autosomal recessive primary microcephaly (MCPH) can cause some intellectual disability, motor skill challenges, and speech and language delays. Usually, these disabilities range from mild or moderate.
Again, many children with microcephaly live completely normal lives. But others can suffer from abnormal facial features, dwarfism, spastic quadriplegia, seizures, poor coordination, and mental disabilities.
There are a number of avenues to get financial assistance in birth injury cases. The preceding link give you some of your possible opinions for additional money to help you care for your child.
Some families with a child with microcephaly have birth injury cases that are worth many millions of dollars because a doctor's mistake caused the child's injury. Other cases of microcephaly are not viable malpractice claims because the OB/GYN or other health care provider did not make a mistake the caused the injury. Our lawyers have seen so many birth injury cases where the families suspect one problem and the negligence was something very different.
How do you figure out if you have a birth injury case? The path is to hire a birth injury lawyer. Most reputable attorneys who specialize in birth injury claims will not ask you to pay anything out-of-pocket to investigate the case. If the claim appears that it may have merit, the next step is sending it off to obstetricians, pediatricians, and other doctors who can verify that the claim is viable. We review birth injury claims across the country. If you have a claim, we can give you an instant analysis of your claim online or you can call us at 800-553-8082.