Encepalocele is a rare neural tube defect affecting the brain that is present at birth. A result of an incomplete closure of the neural tube during development, it is literally a herniation of the brain through the bony skull. These projections are typically recognized at birth and encephalocele is confirmed by testing for the presence of the protein Beta 2 Transferrin.

Symptoms of encephalocele in the forehead or nose region become apparent due to the ear’s connection with the nose through the Eustachian Tube. A cold in the sinuses that infects the ear can potentially result in meningitis. Signs of encephalocele can include: hydrocephaly/excess fluid on the brain; an unusually small head; loss of strength in extremities; decreased coordination; problems with vision; developmental delay or growth or mental retardation; and seizures.

Treatment of encephalocele typically involves a combination of neurosurgery and plastic surgery. Surgical outcomes are dependent on the amount of fluid in the removed sac and the character of remaining brain tissue.

Many factors may be at play in the development of encephalocele. The exact cause of the condition is still unknown so preventing it is difficult. But doctors suggest that pregnant women follow recommendations for folic acid consumption to prevent the development of any neural tube disorder.

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