Hydrocephalus is an excess of cerebrospinal fluid in the cavities of the brain (ventricles). This results either from a blockage of the circulation of this liquid, or from a malfunction of the reabsorption of the liquid.
The treatment usually involves the implantation of a bypass that drains the excess fluid out of the brain and directs it to another part of the body.Generally, a small tube (ventricular catheter) is inserted inside one of the ventricles, passes through the brain and ends in a valve, outside the skull, under the skin. A long, thin, flexible tube (catheter) placed under the skin, descends from the valve along one side of the head, then from the neck and chest, or back, into the abdominal (peritoneal) cavity. The liquid is thus drained.
Without treatment, brain damage and seizures can result in death in a few weeks.
The likely consequences of hydrocephalus include learning disabilities, difficulties in attention, memory and concentration.
Treatment and prevention
Recent studies have found that adding vitamin B, folic acid, to the diet of women of childbearing age can significantly reduce the risk of neural tube defects that cause spina bifida.
Women should take 0.4 mg of folic acid daily, at least one month before conception and the first 3 months of pregnancy.
For women who have had a pregnancy indicating a neural tube defect, who have a family history characterized by such abnormalities, who have spina bifida themselves, or who have a spouse with spina- bifida, the recommended daily dose is 4 mg folic acid.
Where can I find folic acid
Although folic acid can be found in fruits, vegetables, grains, meat and meat alternatives (see chart), it is difficult to get adequate intake of diet alone.
To get the correct daily intake of folic acid, women must consume folic acid-rich foods every day AND take a multi-vitamin supplement containing at least 0.4 mg of folic acid each day.
Unless your doctor prescribes it, it is not recommended to take more than 1 mg of folic acid per day.