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NINDS Porencephaly Information Page


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What is Porencephaly?

Porencephaly is an extremely rare disorder of the central nervous system in which a cyst or cavity filled with cerebrospinal fluid develops in the brain.  It is usually the result of damage from stroke or infection after birth (the more common type), but it can also be caused by abnormal development before birth (which is inherited and less common).  Diagnosis is usually made before an infant reaches his or her first birthday.  Symptoms of porencephaly include delayed growth and development, spastic hemiplegia (slight or incomplete paralysis), hypotonia (low muscle tone), seizures (often infantile spasms), and macrocephaly (large head) or microcephaly (small head). Children with porencephaly may have poor or absent speech development, epilepsy, hydrocephalus (accumulation of fluid in the brain), spastic contractures (shrinkage or shortening of the muscles), and mental retardation.

Is there any treatment?

Treatment may include physical therapy, medication for seizures, and the placement of a shunt in the brain to remove excess fluid in the brain. 

What is the prognosis?

The prognosis for children with porencephaly varies according to the location and extent of the cysts or cavities.  Some children with this disorder develop only minor neurological problems and have normal intelligence, while others may be severely disabled and die before their second decade of life.

What research is being done?

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and other institutes of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct research related to porencephaly in laboratories at the NIH and also support additional research through grants to major medical institutions across the country.  Much of this research explores the complex mechanisms of normal brain development. The knowledge gained from these fundamental studies will provide a foundation for developing ways to prevent porecephaly and the other cephalic disorders. 

NIH Patient Recruitment for Porencephaly Clinical Trials

Organizations

Column1 Column2
March of Dimes
1275 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY   10605
askus@marchofdimes.com
http://www.marchofdimes.com
Tel: 914-997-4488 888-MODIMES (663-4637)
Fax: 914-428-8203

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
55 Kenosia Avenue
Danbury, CT   06810
orphan@rarediseases.org
http://www.rarediseases.org
Tel: 203-744-0100 Voice Mail 800-999-NORD (6673)
Fax: 203-798-2291

Related NINDS Publications and Information
  • Cephalic Disorders Fact Sheet
    Cephalic disorders information page compiled by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).


Prepared by:
Office of Communications and Public Liaison
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892



NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient's medical history.

All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Credit to the NINDS or the NIH is appreciated.

Last updated April 16, 2014