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Holoprosencephaly (HPE)

Related Terms

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Background

  • Holoprosencephaly (HPE) occurs when an unborn baby's brain does not grow forward and divide properly during early pregnancy. Normally, the brain splits into two halves (called hemispheres) during development. The hemispheres communicate to each other through a band of 200-250 million nerve fibers, called the corpus callosum. In patients with HPE, the hemispheres are not separated properly.
  • As a result, there are abnormalities in the face and structure and function of the brain.
  • Common signs and symptoms include a small head (called microcephaly), excessive fluid in the brain (called hydrocephalus), and intellectual disabilities (formerly called mental retardation) of varying degrees.
  • The severity of HPE ranges from mild to severe. According to studies, in about 97% of cases, the malformations are so severe that the baby dies before birth. In less-severe cases, babies are born with normal or near-normal brain development and facial malformations that may affect the nose, eyes, and upper lip.
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Types of Holoprosencephaly

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Causes

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Signs and Symptoms

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Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Integrative Therapies

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Prevention

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.