Spina bifida: what is spina bifida?

Spina bifida is also called spina bifida. Spina bifida is a congenital defect in which the vertebrae do not close properly, causing the meninges and spinal cord to protrude. As a result, spina bifida can have major consequences. Spina bifida occurs during the formation of the embryo. If the condition runs in the family, the chance that a child will be born with the condition is much greater.

How common is spina bifida?

For every 10,000 children born, 4.5 children are born with spina bifida.

Two types of spina bifida

There are two types of spina bifida. One is a hidden form, the other is immediately apparent.

  1. Spina bifida occulta: also called hidden spina bifida. This form is not common and is often only discovered at a later age.
  2. Spina bifida aperta is the most common form of spina bifida and usually involves a bulging fluid bladder on the back. This form is also divided into two types. In one case there is only fluid in the fluid bladder. In addition to fluid, the other also contains spinal cord and nerves.

 

The consequences of spina bifida

The congenital defect spina bifida in which the vertebrae do not close properly so that the meninges and spinal cord come out can lead to serious disabilities such as paralysis from the waist down. In addition, the opening should be thought as soon as possible to avoid infections.

Pain perception in spina bifida

In March 2012, a team from Erasmus MC in Rotterdam released a study into the pain experienced by people with spina bifida. This study was based on research among 28 children. Eight of them had a severe form of spina bifida. Doctors looked at the discomfort the children have from spina bifida and also at the pain they have. It showed that no more than 3.3 percent of the children actually had pain due to the condition. In March 2012, the pain perception of babies with spina bifida was investigated for the first time.

Termination of life for spina bifida

The research states that there should be a new investigation into the Groningen Protocol. This is a 2005 guideline approved by the Public Prosecution Service, which stipulates that newborns with unbearable and hopeless suffering can be released from that suffering. The protocol was drawn up based on the termination of life of 22 children with spina bifida. The main element of the protocol is that doctors will not be prosecuted for life-ending treatment if they adhere to the conditions set for it.

Walking on all fours

Spina bifida can manifest itself in different forms. Although many children are operated on promptly at birth, this cannot prevent damage. For example, there are young people who can walk at first, but later have to rely on a wheelchair because they can no longer walk. Sometimes they can still move by moving small distances on their hands and knees.

Later life

Although the outcome of spina bifida cannot be predicted, there are a number of possible scenarios. This could look like this:

  • There is a chance that the child will develop hydrocephalus
  • The child may be partially paralyzed
  • The child may experience pain
  • The child has to undergo constant operations
  • Muscles become damaged so that walking is no longer possible
  • The person develops clubfoot
  • Scoliosis or deformity of the spine causes the body to grow together and the lungs become compressed

But all those things don’t have to happen. Each case of spina bifida is an individual case.

Folic acid

Since it became known that taking folic acid helps prevent spina bifida, the number of children born with the condition has decreased. This data has been known since the 90s of the 21st century.

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