Hydrocephalus: "Water on the Brain"
Hydrocephalus is a condition characterized by fluid pressing on the brain.
It may also be called "water on the brain," but this is an incorrect
term, since it is actually spinal fluid that collects and puts pressure
on the brain. This added pressure can cause problems in the way that
the brain grows and its ability to function.
More on Hydrocephalus
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: Offers a fact sheet on hydrocephalus
- Medline Plus: Offers a basic overview of the disease
- Mayo Clinic: Basic definition of hydrocephalus
- Neurosurgery Today: Offers information on hydrocephalus
The symptoms of hydrocephalus can vary. It can be difficult to see them in young children or infants because they may not be able to explain the symptoms. However sudden swelling or growth of an infant's head is a warning sign, and you should take the child to the doctor immediately. Other common symptoms include:
Blurred or double vision
More on Symptoms and Dealing with the Condition
- Medicine Net: Explanation of common symptoms
- About.com Pediatrics: Explains symptoms of hydrocephalus in children
- eMedicineHealth: Explains the symptoms of normal pressure hydrocephalus
To treat hydrocephalus it is important to relieve the pressure on the brain. This is usually done with a surgery that puts in a shunt to allow the accumulating fluid to drain off the brain. The shunt has risks involved with it, including a chance of infection, as well as the possibility of the shunt closing again. Depending on the cause of the hydrocephalus and the stage of development of the patient, the recovery of each person will be different.
Treatments and Outcomes of the Disease
- New Jersey's Science and Technology University: Ways to improve treatment of hydrocephalus
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Explains basic treatment of hydrocephalus
- PubMed.gov: Long term prognosis for children with hydrocephalus
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with hydrocephalus, it may be helpful to join a support group. There are many available to you. This group can allow you to seek advice and support from others in the same situation.
- Hydrocephalus Association: Offers information and support for family members
- Hydrocephalus Foundation, Inc: Provides support and education to family members