The Effect of Neural Tube Defects on Healthcare

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According to the Encyclopædia Britannica (2014), a neural tube defect is “any congenital defect of the brain and spinal cord as a result of abnormal development of the neural tube.” This birth defect is “the most common congenital defect of the central nervous system, affecting the brain and/or spinal cord of 300,000 newborns worldwide each year” (Ricks et al., 2012, p. 391). The exact cause of these central nervous system defects is unknown, but there are many contributing factors that are evidenced to assist in the prevention of such a disorder. I will examine the varying types of neural tube defect, populations in which this defect is most prevalent, possible causes of the defect, and how this defect affects the healthcare system. …show more content…
More severe cases of spina bifida require immediate surgery to ensure the infant’s survival. Encephalocele also pertains to a defect in the cephalic portion of the neural tube. This condition “occurs when a meningeal sac containing brain tissue protrudes from the skull. The outlook for affected individuals depends on the amount of nervous tissue involved” (neural tube defect, 2014). Infants born with a neural tube defect are also examined for hydrocephalus, or “water on the brain.” Hydrocephalus “occurs when normal passages for the cerebrospinal fluid that fills the neural tube are partially or completely blocked” by a neural tube defect (neural tube defect, 2014). (Frazier & Drzymkowski, 2013; neural tube defect, 2014) “The prevalence of neural tube defects is higher in Mexican-Americans than other U.S. populations” (Suarez, Felkner, Brender & Canfield, 2012, p. 844). This correlates with evidence that these malformations occur more frequently in poor, obese, or undernourished populations. These groups do not have access to, or do not consume, the necessary nutrients vital to proper neural tube formation. These vital nutrients, as well as some harmful exposures, will be examined more fully in the coming paragraph. (Suarez et al., 2012) Neural tube defects develop during the first month of pregnancy; because of this women who are capable of becoming pregnant should monitor
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