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Research Paper on Spina Bifida Essay

There are many diseases in the world that affect the human body. In many cases people do not care or don’t become aware of all the diseases that can be harmful and possibly put their lives at risk. There is a great list of diseases that can impact our lives. For example, one of the diseases that I found to be sadly life changing is the Spina Bifida. Even though, the outlook for children with spina bifida has changed dramatically over the years; a study has shown that with appropriate medical care about 75% of children born with the most severe form of spina bifida will most likely live until their early adult years.

What exactly is a spina bifida? Well it occurs when the fetus is growing in the womb and its spine doesn’t form correctly. Some of the bones in the spine don’t close to make their normal ring shapes around the spinal cord, and the opening that results causes one of these types of spina bifida: spina bifida occulta and spina bifida cystica- meningocele and myelomeningocele. The spina bifida occulta is a tiny opening that usually causes mild or no symptoms.

Whereas, the spina bifida cystica-meningocele is a big enough opening so that some of the membrane surrounding the spinal cord sticks out through the opening. However, the most serious kind, in which some of the spinal cord itself sticks out through the opening in the spine is the spina bifida cystica-myelomeningocele. Some of the symptoms of this disease varies and depends on where along the spine the opening occurred or which type of spina bifida has occurred.

Not only that, children born with spina bifida may have other nervous system disorders such as hydrocephalus or Chiari malformation. This disease occurs more frequently among Hispanics and whites of European extraction, and less commonly among Asians and African-Americans. About 95% of babies born with spina bifida have no family history of it. However, if a mother has a child with spina bifida, the risk of it happening again in a pregnancy is greatly increased.

One of the reasons of this disease happens because of the deficiency of folic acid during the pregnancy stage. Although, the FDA mandated that all enriched cereal grain products be fortified with folic acid to help reduce the chance of spina bifida from happening. There are still some issues about adding folic acid to foods. The treatment for this disease consists of managing the symptoms that the person has, such as difficulty standing, walking, or urinating.

Some people will be able to walk with crutches or leg braces; others may need a wheelchair to get around. However, children and adults with myelomeningocele have the most medical complications and need the most medical care. Even though, there is no complete cure spina bifida. The opening in the spine can be closed surgically either before or after birth, and this could reduce its effects on the body. Overall, spina bifida is the most common birth defect that affects a lot of newborns in the United States and other parts of the world.


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