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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Your Question

Are there any treatments for low-grade microcephaly?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What is microcephaly?

Microcephaly is a neurological condition in which a person's head is significantly smaller than normal for their age and sex, based on standardized charts.[1][2] This condition, which most often occurs because the brain fails to grow at a normal rate, can be present at birth or it may develop in the first few years of life.[1][3] Conditions that affect brain growth and can cause microcephaly include infections, genetic disorders, severe malnutrition and other environmental factors.[1] Some children with microcephaly will be of normal intelligence and development. However, many children with microcephaly experience complications such as developmental delays, difficulties with balance and coordination, short stature, hyperactivity, mental retardation, seizures or other neurological abnormalities.[2][3] While there's no treatment for microcephaly, early intervention may help enhance development and improve quality of life.[2]
Last updated: 4/7/2010

Are there any treatments for low-grade microcephaly?

There is no treatment that can return a child’s head to a normal size or shape or reverse the complications of microcephaly. Treatment focuses on ways to decrease the impact of the associated deformities and neurological disabilities. Children with microcephaly and developmental delays are usually evaluated by a pediatric neurologist and followed by a medical management team. Early childhood intervention programs that involve physical, speech, and occupational therapists help to maximize abilities and minimize dysfunction. Medications are often used to control seizures, hyperactivity, and neuromuscular symptoms.[2][3] Genetic counseling may help families understand the risk for microcephaly in subsequent pregnancies.[3]

Last updated: 4/7/2010