Hydrocephalus is a condition in which the primary characteristic is excessive accumulation of fluid in the brain. Although hydrocephalus was once known as "water on the brain," the "water" is actually cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) -- a clear fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The excessive accumulation of CSF results in an abnormal dilation of the spaces in the brain called ventricles. This dilation causes potentially harmful pressure on the tissues of the brain. Hydrocephalus may be congenital or acquired. Congenital hydrocephalus is present at birth and may be caused by either environmental influences or genetic predisposition. Acquired hydrocephalus develops at the time of birth or at some point afterward. Acquired hydrocephalus can affect individuals of all ages and may be caused by injury or disease. The causes of hydrocephalus are not all well understood. Symptoms of hydrocephalus vary with age, disease progression, and individual differences in tolerance to CSF. In infancy, the most obvious indication of hydrocephalus is often the rapid increase in head circumstance or an unusually large head size. In older children and adults, symptoms may include headache followed by vomiting, nausea, papilledema (swelling of the optic disk, which is part of the optic nerve), downward deviation of the eyes (called "sunsetting"), problems with balance, poor coordination, gait disturbance, urinary incontinence, slowing or loss of development, lethargy, drowsiness, irritability, or other changes in personality or cognition, including memory loss. Hydrocephalus is diagnosed through clinical neurological evaluation and by using cranial imaging techniques such as ultrasonography, computer tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or pressure-monitoring techniques.
Hydrocephalus (water-head, term derived from Greek) is an abnormal accumula ...
From the WEST scientific·clinical
From the EAST traditional·alternative
1-2 of 5 more...Signs and symptoms
... Age, how far the disease has progressed and how well a person can tolerate increased cerebrospinal fluid pressure all affect the signs and symptoms. Babies may better tolerate increased CSF pressure b...
... Hydrocephalus can be present at birth (congenital hydrocephalus) or you can develop it later (acquired hydrocephalus). Hydrocephalus results when the flow of cerebrospinal fluid is disrupted or when y...
1 of 1Prevention
... Protecting the head of your infant or child from injury by handling your child carefully may help prevent the development of hydrocephalus. Prompt treatment of infections such as meningitis and other ...
1-2 of 2Complications
... The severity of hydrocephalus depends on the time of onset and whether the disease is progressive. If the condition is well advanced at birth, major brain damage and physical disabilities are likely. ...
... The goal of treatment is to re-establish the balance between cerebrospinal fluid production and reabsorption. Shunt is common approach Doctors most often treat hydrocephalus with surgery to insert a s...
1 of 1Coping skills
... With the help of rehabilitation therapies and educational interventions, many people with hydrocephalus live with few limitations. Public health providers, social services and local agencies can provi...
1-2 of 8 more...Hydrocephalus
... What is hydrocephalus? The term hydrocephalus is derived from the Greek words "hydro" meaning water and "cephalus" meaning head. As its name implies, it is a condition in which the...
Source: Cleveland Clinic
... Hydrocephalus is a condition in which excess fluid builds up in your brain. The word "hydrocephalus" comes from the roots "hydro" meaning "water" and "cephalus" meaning "head." The fluid that accumula...
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... Arnold-Chiari Malformation is a condition in which the cerebellum portion of the brain protrudes into the spinal canal. It may or may not be apparent at birth. Arnold-Chiari I type malformation usuall...
- Dandy-Walker Syndrome Information Page
... Dandy-Walker Syndrome is a congenital brain malformation involving the cerebellum (an area at the back of the brain that controls movement) and the fluid filled spaces around it. The key features of t...
- Hydrocephalus Fact Sheet
... The term hydrocephalus is derived from the Greek words "hydro" meaning water and "cephalus" meaning head. As its name implies, it is a condition in which the primary characteristic is excessive accumu...
- Hydrocephalus Information Page
... Hydrocephalus is a condition in which the primary characteristic is excessive accumulation of fluid in the brain. Although hydrocephalus was once known as "water on the brain," the "water" is actually...
- NIEHS Study Identifies Gene for Hydrocephalus in Mice
... Scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences have identified a gene called RFX4 that is responsible for the birth defect hydrocephalus in mice. Loss of a single copy of this g...
- Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus Information Page
... Normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) is an abnormal increase of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the brain's ventricles, or cavities. It occurs if the normal flow of CSF throughout the brain and spinal...