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Abnormalities of Brain and Skull – Skull and Brain Development

by John McLachlan, PhD
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    00:00 However, this process can go wrong, and this is driven largely by the development of the brain itself.

    00:07 It’s easy to think of the skull as being the rigid component and the brain as being somehow more flexible soft component. But in reality, it’s largely the other way around.

    00:16 It’s the expansion of the brain which drives the formation of the skull and the shape of the skull. In this particular condition called anencephaly, the forebrain has failed to fuse.

    00:30 This is the equivalent of spina bifida at the head end of the embryo. As a result, the brain cannot properly develop at the fore end where the cerebral hemispheres would be.

    00:40 As a consequence, the bony places of the skull have also not developed properly. This condition, sadly, is incompatible with life after birth, although an anencephalic foetus may survive until delivery. This condition is hydrocephalus or hydrocephaly. In this situation, what has happened is that too much cerebrospinal fluid is being produced, or more likely, it’s not being removed efficiently enough. Therefore, the brain is expanded beyond what it would normally do, and when the skull begins to form, the skull is, therefore, larger than it would be, normally. So that’s the expansion of the brain driven by the cerebrospinal fluid that brings about this condition where the baby can have a significantly enlarged head.

    01:29 The treatment for this condition can be relatively mechanical and straightforward. A drain or shunt inserted into the spaces in the brain can drain off the excess of cerebrospinal fluid and lead to normal development, subsequently. So, let me summarize what we’ve looked at in this particular lecture. We’ve looked at the early development and the bending, the flexion of the brain. We’ve looked at the regionalization of the brain itself.

    01:55 We’ve seen how this can influence the development of the skull. And we’ve noted two major kinds of abnormality that can result from something going wrong with these processes.

    02:05 Thank you very much.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Abnormalities of Brain and Skull – Skull and Brain Development by John McLachlan, PhD is from the course System-Specific Embryology with John McLachlan.


    Author of lecture Abnormalities of Brain and Skull – Skull and Brain Development

     John McLachlan, PhD

    John McLachlan, PhD


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