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What is Porencephaly?

Porencephaly is a rare neurological condition where cysts or cavities form within the brain's cerebral hemisphere. These gaps, often due to fetal brain tissue injury or abnormal development, can affect a person's motor skills and cognitive functions. Understanding porencephaly's impact is crucial for supporting affected individuals. How might this condition influence daily life, and what treatments are available? Join us as we examine the intricacies of porencephaly.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Porencephaly is a rare condition characterized by the appearance of small cysts in the cerebral hemisphere. This cephalic disorder can be caused by abnormalities in fetal or infant development, and it can vary in severity. Some patients are severely disabled by porencephaly, while others may lead relatively normal lives despite the holes in their brains. Classically, porencephaly is diagnosed when an infant displays neurological abnormalities.

Most commonly, porencephaly is caused by abnormalities in the development of a newborn brain. If an infant suffers a stroke or develops an infection in the brain, it can cause a destructive lesion which becomes encysted as the brain attempts to protect itself. Over time, the cyst becomes lined with smooth tissue and filled with cerebrospinal fluid. Abnormalities during fetal development can also lead to the development of one or more cysts on the brain.

Parents should not be afraid to share their concerns regarding developmental delays with their pediatrician.
Parents should not be afraid to share their concerns regarding developmental delays with their pediatrician.

Symptoms of porencephaly vary, depending on the location of the cyst or cysts, and their size. Physical problems like lack of muscle tone, paralysis, and seizures can occur, along with developmental delays, especially with language development. The patient may also fail to thrive as a result of porencephaly. When these symptoms are observed, a pediatrician can order medical imaging studies of the brain, and refer the patient to a pediatric neurologist who specializes in neurological disorders in children and infants.

It's important to monitor babies for any signs of lagging behind established child development guidelines.
It's important to monitor babies for any signs of lagging behind established child development guidelines.

It is important to monitor infants for any signs of deviation from expected developmental milestones. While some variation from the average is expected and not a cause for concern, radical variations or the signs of neurological abnormalities are a cause for concern, and parents should not be afraid to share concerns with a pediatrician. A doctor would much rather have early problems drawn to his or her attention than see a patient when problems have become much more severe because parents delayed treatment out of shyness.

A pediatrician can order medical imaging studies in order to view the brain.
A pediatrician can order medical imaging studies in order to view the brain.

Because the damage to the brain is already done, porencephaly cannot be cured. However, a variety of techniques can be used to manage symptoms, including physical therapy, speech therapy, and medications to minimize seizures. Proper supportive care can help a patient with porencephaly lead a normal, active life, but parents usually need to be proactive advocates for their children to ensure that they get the care and support they need. Parents should not blame themselves if porencephaly develops in a child; usually there is nothing which can be done to prevent it, beyond getting early treatment for strokes and infections to reduce the damage caused by these medical problems.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a TheHealthBoard researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a TheHealthBoard researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...

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    • Parents should not be afraid to share their concerns regarding developmental delays with their pediatrician.
      By: Darren Baker
      Parents should not be afraid to share their concerns regarding developmental delays with their pediatrician.
    • It's important to monitor babies for any signs of lagging behind established child development guidelines.
      By: Adam Borkowski
      It's important to monitor babies for any signs of lagging behind established child development guidelines.
    • A pediatrician can order medical imaging studies in order to view the brain.
      By: michaeljung
      A pediatrician can order medical imaging studies in order to view the brain.