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Living with Spina BifidaA Guide for Families and Professionals$
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Adrian Sandler, M.D.

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780807855478

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807867860_sandler

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A Holistic Overview of Spina Bifida

A Holistic Overview of Spina Bifida

(p.1) Chapter 1 A Holistic Overview of Spina Bifida
Living with Spina Bifida

Adrian Sandler

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter begins with a clinical description of “spina bifida.” Literally, spina bifida means a split or divided spine. It is a birth defect that occurs within the first month of pregnancy, when the embryo is about the length of a grain of rice. The cause of spina bifida is not known with certainty, but it is likely that folic acid deficiency during the crucial early weeks of pregnancy sometimes contributes to the problem. The defect in the spine may occur anywhere along the spinal column but is usually found in the midback (thoracic), in the lower back (lumbar), or at the base of the spine (sacral). Spina bifida may be open or closed. Closed spina bifida, or “spina bifida occulta,” is a fairly common condition, in which the bones of the spine may be incomplete but the defect is covered by skin and the spinal cord is usually normal.

Keywords:   clinical description, spina bifida, divided spine, birth defect, embryo

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