Schizencephaly is a very rare developmental defect that happens at birth. It is characterised by clefts or abnormal slits inside the cerebral hemispheres of the brain. Babies with clefts in both the hemispheres of the brain, tend to experience developmental delays such as in speech as well as language skills and problems with the brain-spinal cord communication.
Those individuals who have clefts in only one hemisphere tend to often be paralysed on one side of their body. These individuals will still have average to near-average intelligence.
The symptoms of schizencephaly tend to differ depending on the degree as well as size of the cleft.
Individuals suffering from schizencephaly may have an abnormally small head, partial or complete paralysis, mental retardation or poor muscle tone. Also, most of these individuals will experience seizures with some of them experiencing excessive accumulation of fluid inside the brain, which are called hydrocephalus. The seizures usually start prior to the age of three, though some patients may present with this symptoms later as well.
Development delays are common in schizencephaly and the level of delay may range from mild to severe with the latter being in the case of those patients in whom the clefts are bilateral or open-lip. The doctor may observe increased pressure in the brain because of the accumulation of fluid.
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