Spina Bifida Essay

1033 words - 5 pages

Scientists have found that spina bifida has been in existence for thousands of years. In the mid-1600s Nicolaas Tulp, a Dutch anatomist, first described the disease in detail and gave it the name spina bifida. He described this disease, along with over 200 others, in his book Observations Medicae. Later in 1761, Giovanni Battista Morgangni contributed to the knowledge of spina bifida when he described hydrocephalus and its association with spina bifida. German doctors Rudolf Verchow and Hans Chiari helped contribute to spina bifida research. Verchow came up with the name spina bifida occulta in 1875. In 1891, Chiari described a condition where the cerebellum sticks out into the upper part of ...view middle of the document...

There are three types of spina bifida: spina bifida occulta, meningocele, and myelomeningocele. Spina bifida occulta is the mildest form of the disease. In this form of spina bifida, the outer parts of some of the vertebrae are not closed fully but there is no opening in the back and no obvious damage to the spinal cord. Many times people do not even know they have spina bifida occulta and do not have any neurological problems. Some people may experience back pain, changes in leg muscles, and incontinence. Meningocele is the moderate form of spina bifida where the vertebrae do not close fully and the meninges, protective coverings around the spinal cord, are pushed out to form a sac that also contains cerebrospinal fluid. The spinal cord does not get pushed out, and the nerves are normally not damaged. Minor disabilities may occur with this form of spina bifida. Myelomeningocele is the most severe form of spina bifida. The meninges and the spinal cord both protrude, forming a sac that contains cerebrospinal fluid. This causes the spinal nerves to be damaged. Disabilities vary depending on the amount of nerve damage as well as where the lesion is located on the back. Openings toward the top of the back typically are more severe (Spina Bifida: The Facts, 2014).
There are four key physical effects of spina bifida. They include mobility problems, continence, skin sensation, and cognitive issues. Mobility problems may include weakness, limited feeling, and not being able to walk. Continence deals with not having bladder or bowel control. These bodily functions are controlled by the sacral nerve where most of the damage from the disease is usually located. Damage of certain nerves can cause little to no feeling in some areas of the skin, and people who have spina bifida often times have a latex allergy. Cognitive effects are caused by hydrocephalus, which is a build up of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, as well as the Chiari type II malformations (Spina Bifida: The Facts, 2014).
In most cases spina bifida is detected when...

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