This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Microcephaly is a rare neurological condition in which a person’s head is significantly smaller than expected based on standardized charts. Some cases of microcephaly are detected at birth, while others develop in the first few years of life. Some children with microcephaly have normal intelligence and development. However, microcephaly can be associated with seizures; developmental delay; intellectual disability; problems with movement and balance; feeding difficulties; hearing loss; and/or vision problems depending on the severity of the condition. Because the growth of the skull is determined by brain growth, the condition often occurs when the brain fails to grow at a normal rate. This may be caused by a variety of genetic abnormalities; exposure to certain viruses (i.e. rubella, toxoplasmosis, and cytomegalovirus), drugs, alcohol, or toxic chemicals during pregnancy; untreated maternal PKU during pregnancy; and/or severe malnutrition during pregnancy. Although there is no treatment for microcephaly, early intervention may help enhance development and improve quality of life.
For more information, visit GARD.