Type of disease: Rare conditions

Schizencephaly is a rare congenital (present from birth) brain malformation in which abnormal slits or clefts form in the cerebral hemispheres of the brain. The signs and symptoms of this condition may include developmental delay, seizures, and problems with brain-spinal cord communication. Affected people may also have an abnormally small head (microcephaly); hydrocephalus; intellectual disability; partial or complete paralysis; and/or poor muscle tone (hypotonia). Severity of symptoms depends on many factors including the extent of the clefting and whether or not other brain abnormalities are present. Although the exact cause of schizencephaly is unknown, it has been linked to a variety of genetic and non-genetic factors. Treatment generally consists of physical therapy and drugs to prevent seizures. In cases that are complicated by hydrocephalus, a surgically implanted tube, called a shunt, is often used to divert fluid to another area of the body where it can be absorbed. Source: Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD), supported by ORDR-NCATS and NHGRI.

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