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NINDS Schizencephaly Information Page


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What is Schizencephaly?

Schizencephaly is an extremely rare developmental birth defect characterized by abnormal slits, or clefts, in the cerebral hemispheres of the brain.  Babies with clefts in both hemispheres (called bilateral clefts) commonly have developmental delays, delays in speech and language skills, and problems with brain-spinal cord communication.  Individuals with clefts in only one hemisphere (called unilateral clefts) are often paralyzed on one side of the body, but may have average to near-average intelligence.  Individuals with schizencephaly may also have an abnormally small head, mental retardation, partial or complete paralysis, or poor muscle tone.  Most will experience seizures.  Some individuals may have an excessive accumulation of fluid in the brain called hydrocephalus. 

Is there any treatment?

Treatment generally consists of physical therapy and drugs to prevent seizures.  In cases that are complicated by hydrocephalus, a surgically implanted tube, called a shunt, is often used to divert fluid to another area of the body where it can be absorbed. 

What is the prognosis?

The prognosis for individuals with schizencephaly varies depending on the size of the clefts and the extent of neurological disabilities.

What research is being done?

The NINDS conducts and supports a wide range of studies that explore the mechanisms of normal brain development.  The knowledge gained from these fundamental studies provides the foundation for understanding how to prevent or treat developmental brain defects such as schizencephaly.

NIH Patient Recruitment for Schizencephaly Clinical Trials

Organizations

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The Arc of the United States
1825 K Street, NW
Suite 1200
Washington, DC   20006
Info@thearc.org
http://www.thearc.org
Tel: 202-534-3700 800-433-5255
Fax: 202-534-3731

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 Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
U.S. Dept. of Education, Office of Special Education Programs
1825 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC   20009
nichcy@aed.org
http://www.nichcy.org
Tel: 800-695-0285 202-884-8200
Fax: 202-884-8441

 
Related NINDS Publications and Information


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