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What is Spina Bifida?

Spina Bifida is a birth defect in which the bones of the vertebral column do not close properly, exposing the spinal cord, leaving it unprotected. The spinal column is made of bones, called “vertebrae.” They support the body and protect a large group of nerves, called the “spinal cord.” The spinal cord carries nerve signals from the body to the

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Types of Spina Bifida

There are three main types of Spina Bifida, ranging from minor to severe. Spina Bifida Occulta (SBO) is often called “hidden Spina Bifida” because about 15 percent of healthy people do not know they have it. Individuals usually find out they have SBO after having an X-ray or MRI of their back. This is considered an incidental finding because the

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Causes of Spina Bifida

Although scientists are not sure why the neural tubes fail to develop or close correctly in some infants, they think that the causes may be genetic, nutritional, environmental or a combination of the three. Maternal nutritional state, exposure to radiation, drugs and chemicals as well as a genetic predisposition may act together to cause neural tube defects. There does appear

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Treatment of Spina Bifida

There is no cure for Spina Bifida. The damaged nerve tissue cannot be repaired or replaced. Nerves do regrow, however the growth is very slow. The aim of treatment is to enable the child to reach the highest degree of function and independence. The type of treatment required depends on the type and severity of the spinal defect. Generally, children

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Conditions Caused by Spina Bifida

Conditions caused by Spina Bifida can range from minor physical problems to severe physical disabilities. The severity of the conditions depend upon the size and location of the defect, whether or not skin covers it, whether or not spinal nerves are exposed, and which spinal nerves are involved. In general, the majority of the nerves located below the defect are

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Quality of Life for Spina Bifida

Thanks to huge strides in medical and surgical interventions over the past 40 years, children who are born with Spina Bifida today lead full, active and productive lives. According to the Spina Bifida Association, approximately 90 percent of infants affected with the defect live well into adulthood. In addition, about 80 percent have normal intelligence. The majority of these children

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