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Anencephaly

By Stephen J. Falchek, MD, Director, Residency Program and formerly Division Chief of Pediatric Neurology;Instructor, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children;Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University

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Anencephaly is absence of the cerebral hemispheres.

The absent brain is sometimes replaced by malformed cystic neural tissue, which may be exposed or covered with skin. Parts of the brain stem and spinal cord may be missing or malformed. Infants are stillborn or die within days or weeks.

Treatment is palliative only.