Apr 6, 2014
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The term given to the condition in which a child is born with a defect of the skull and absence of the brain. Anencephaly is the most common major malformation of the central nervous system. It has an incidence of 0·65 per 1,000 live births. There is complete absence of the cerebral hemispheres and overlying skull, and the brain stem and cerebellum are atrophic. If the pregnancy goes to term the infants rapidly die, but in 50 per cent of pregnancies associated with anencephaly, spontaneous abortion occurs. It is possible to detect the presence of anencephaly in the fetus by measuring the level of ALPHA-FETO PROTEIN in the mother’s serum or in the amniotic fluid. (See also SPINA BIFIDA.)

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Medical Dictionary

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