Colpocephaly is an inherited brain abnormality. In this condition, the occipital horns (the posterior or rear portion of the lateral ventricles) of the brain become larger than normal because white matter in the posterior cerebrum has failed to develop or thicken.
The exact cause if colpocephaly is not known but it is believed to caused because some kind of disturbance in the foetal environment. The studies suggest that the abnormality occurs between the second and sixth months of pregnancy.
Colpocephaly is one of a group of structural brain disorders known as cephalic disorders which is characterized by microcephaly (an abnormally small head) and mental retardation. The other characteristics of the brain abnormality are movement abnormalities, muscle spasms and seizures.
The condition may go undiagnosed until the last trimester of pregnancy, and sometimes misdiagnosed as hydrocephalus (excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain). It can be more accurately diagnosed after birth when the signs of mental retardation, microcephaly and seizures become evident.
As of now, there is no treatment for colpocephaly. To prevent seizures, anticonvulsant medications are often prescribed. Doctors may also recommend exercise therapies and orthopedic appliances to reduce shrinkage or shortening of muscles.
The prognosis for individuals with colpocephaly depends on the severity of the associated conditions and the degree of abnormal brain development. Some children benefit from special education.
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