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This condition is associated withundeveloped head due to the brain. The brain in this case has stopped growingor the growing has been impaired. This problem usually develops in the firstyear of life or after the birth. During the few initial months of developmentof the fetus, growth of the cerebral cortex may be impaired and this leads tomicrocephaly. This problem can be brought in connection with neurometabolicsyndromes, chromosomal syndromes and Down's disease, and it can be develop bythe mother and passed on to the baby. This happens when the mother does nottreat phenylketonuria, if she is affected by certain toxic material, if shecatches cytomegalovirus infection or uses drugs or alcohol during pregnancy.

The problem of the microcephaly cannot be detected before the third trimester. Theproper diagnose can only be made after the delivery and not before. The childwill be fully examined and birth history will be obtained by the doctor. Inorder to get a proper diagnose, doctor will also ask about medical history andsome important dates during pregnancy, which can be associated with other conditionsconnected with microcephaly. One of these conditions is mental retardation.Babies who are born with this problem, can have a normal size head during thebirth, but the development will be impaired in the next stages of the life. Itwill cause wrinkled scalp and the head will remain undeveloped while the facewill not. Also, development of the speech and motor functions is impaired. Thehead will look very small, which can be seen by the skull, while body will alsosuffer from underdevelopment, becoming dwarfed and underweight. Anotherpossible problem is convulsion.

Causes of Microcephaly

This problem can be passed onfrom the parent, but this happens in few very rare cases. We can say that in 30000-50 000 cases of microcephaly, only one is induced by the genetic factors.When other causes are concerned, in 10 000 live births one case suffers fromit. Another possible cause of this problem is an infection that has affectedthe mother. Several substances, like x-rays or some chemicals, can be the causeof this infection. Also, early contact between the skull and the bones can leadto the problem in question. These harmful substances can produce microcephalyif the fetus is exposed to it during the development. We have already mentionedthat it can be passed on from the parent and that it can also be caused bygenetics. Improper growth of the brain is the most common cause for the microcephaly.The skull will grow as much as the brain does, so when this problem occurs, thebrain does not grow along with the skull and the head.

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