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28 April 2009

Treatment and recovery of Spina bifida

If the defect is minor, usually no treatment is necessary. If the defect is more serious, then surgery to repair it is often performed.

In cases where hydrocephalus is present, surgery is sometimes necessary to drain the cerebrospinal fluid that builds up. Normally, this fluid would flow from the brain down the spinal column before being absorbed into the bloodstream, but if the spinal cord is damaged it can't escape.

Physiotherapy helps with mobility. Regular use of a urinary catheter may be needed if there are difficulties passing urine normally. Emotional support is important, and special teaching may be necessary.

Taking a daily folic acid supplement from at least one month before conception through to the end of the 12th week of pregnancy can reduce the risk of spina bifida by up to 70 per cent.

It's recommended that women of child-bearing age take a 400mcg supplement of folic acid every day, in addition to a dietary intake of 200mcg folic acid a day.

Foods containing folic acid include:

  1. Fortified breakfast cereals
  2. Baked beans
  3. Green leafy vegetables
  4. Peas and chickpeas
  5. Oranges

Prevention of Spina Bifida:

The United States Public Health Service since 1992 has recommended that all women of childbearing age who are capable of becoming pregnant should consume 0.4 mg (400 mcg) of folic acid per day for the purpose of reducing their risk of having a pregnancy affected with spina bifida or other neural tube defects. Folic acid is found in foods such as cereals, broccoli, spinach and other leafy green vegetables and citrus fruits. It is also available as a vitamin supplement. Folic acid can reduce by about 50 percent the risk of having a newborn with spina bifida. Unfortunately, most women do not eat enough folic acid-containing foods (such as leafy vegetables and citrus fruits). For this reason, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires that flour, breads, rolls, buns, corn meal and grits, farina, rice, macaroni, and noodle products should be fortified with folic acid. However, because prevention is so easy, it is now recommended that every woman of childbearing age take 40 mg (400 mcg) of folic acid as a vitamin supplement daily. Women should realize that it is important that they consume the vitamin every day, whether they are planning a pregnancy or not. Folic acid appears to work around the time of conception, so if women wait to start folic acid until they know they are pregnan

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