Microcephaly is a condition that is present at birth in which the baby's head is much smaller than normal for an infant of that age and gender.


  • Genetic Abnormalities
  • Drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Certain Viruses and Toxins that are exposed to the fetus during pregnancy
  • Exposure to hazardous chemical or substances
  • lack of proper vitamins and nutrients in the diet
  • Intrauterine infection with cytomegalovirus, rubella or varicella virus

Genetic Disorders can also cause Microcephaly.  Genes determine out traits such as eye color and blood type and can also cause disease inheriting a abnormal gene s sometimes causing microcephaly.

There are 2 patterns in which genes can be inherited in a family.

Autosomal Recessive - Both males and females are equally affected.  Recessive means that 2 copies of the gene, one inherited from each parent are necessary to have the condition.  After parents have 1 child with autosomal recessive microcephaly there is a 25% chance or one in four change with each pregnancy to have another child with microcephaly.

Autosomal Dominant - Trait or disorder passed down (inherited) through families

Two Types

Primary Microcephaly and Congenital Microcephaly

Primary - is sometimes know as true microcephaly or microcephaly vera.  It is an inherited disease condition that is due to genetic mutations.  there are four mutations that lead to the cause of this disease condition, these genes are:  MCPH1, CK5RAP2, ASPM and CENPJ.  Genetic mutation in primary microcephaly debase the development and brain growth because this plays an important role in brain cell division.

Congenital - when a person has congenital microcephaly, it means that the person has this kind of condition at birth.


  • Baby's head very small
  • High pitched cry
  • Poor Feeding
  • Seizures
  • Increased movement of the arms and legs (Spasticity)
  • Developmental Delays
  • Intellectual Disability

How is Microcephaly Diagnosed?

  • before birth by a prenatal ultrasound (may not be evident by ultrasound until 3rd trimester
  • head circumference
  • CT
  • MRI
  • Blood Tests
  • Urine Test
  • Genetic Test


There is no treatment for Microcephaly

Frequent examinations are encouraged and Positive reinforcement

How small does the Head have to be to qualify as Microcephaly?

Any head in which the skull is not able to hold more than 1349 milliliters (equal to about one fourth of a gallon) qualifies as Microcephaly.

True Story


  • Foundations for Children with Microcephaly

http://childrenwithmicro.org/ (http://chidrenwithmicro.org/)

  • May Clinic:  Microcephaly Information and Support


  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: Microcephaly Fact Sheet


  • Mild Microcephaly Group


Phone - 651-201-5000

Toll-free - 888-345-0823


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