It has received a lot of attention lately due to its connection to the Zika virus that is plaguing South America and even Florida (and now Southeast Asia), but microcephaly has been a known medical condition for long before these reports.
This condition affects infants, namely they are born with a much smaller than average head. There are some things the medical world knows about the condition that were discussed before the Zika link, so in honor of National Microcephaly Awareness Day on September 30th, let’s take a look at some facts…
1. Microcephaly Can Result from Malnutrition
A National Institutes of Health study posted way back in 1997 examined the relationship between microcephaly and malnutrition in Australian aboriginal babies. It focused on children under 2-years old brought to the Royal Darwin Hospital who were admitted to the facility for diarrhea in 1990 and 1991.
After assessing nutritional health (using World Health Organization criteria) along with birth weight and other factors, the conclusion was reached that lack of nutrition (referred to as wasting) is a driver of the condition, independent of stunted growth before birth.