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Thursday, February 10, 2011


Microcephaly is defined as a head circumference that measures less than 3 standard deviation below the measure for age and sex.
 This condition is relatively common particularly among the mentally retarded population. Primary (genetic) microcephaly and secondary (non-genetic) microcephaly, are the 2 types.

Clinical manifestation
It is important to measure the patient's head circumference at birth. A very small head circumference implies a process that began early in embryonic or foetal development. Serial head circumference measurements are more meaningful than a single determination particularly when the abnormality is minimal. If the cause of the microcephaly is unknown the mother serum phenyl alanine level should be determined. CT scanning or MRI may be useful in identifying structural abnormalities.

Once the cause of the microcephaly has been established the physician must provide accurate and supportive genetic and family counselling, because many children with microcephaly will also be mentally retarded. Intelligence quotient is reduced compared with the general population.

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