What Are Congenital Anomalies?
Congenital anomalies are malformations present in the infant at birth.
Q: What anomalies are present at birth?
A: Some anomalies are inherited while others are caused by a harmful environmental factor during pregnancy such as diet, toxins, infections, metabolic disorders, and radiation.
Examples include cleft lip impairing the ability to eat and speak, clubfoot impairing the ability to walk, congenital heart disease causing heart failure, spina bifida impairing the ability to walk, control the bladder and bowel, and anencephaly causing death.
For example, anencephaly is a defect in the closure of the neural tube during early fetal development. The neural tube is a narrow channel that folds and closes between the 3rd and 4th weeks of pregnancy to form the brain and spinal cord of the embryo. Anencephaly occurs when the “cephalic” or head end of the neural tube fails to close, resulting in the absence of a major portion of the brain, skull, and scalp.
Infants with this disorder are born without a forebrain (the front part of the brain) and a cerebrum (the thinking and coordinating part of the brain). The remaining brain tissue is often exposed–not covered by bone or skin. A baby born with anencephaly is usually blind, deaf, unconscious, and unable to feel pain. Recent studies have shown that the addition of folic acid (vitamin B9) to the diet of women of childbearing age may significantly reduce the incidence of neural tube defects. Therefore it is recommended that all women of childbearing age consume 0.4 mg of folic acid daily. 1
What Are Congenital Anomalies In Celiac Disease and/or Gluten Sensitivity?
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National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke ↩