*Anencephaly facts medical author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
- Anencephaly is an example of a neural tube defect, a condition that results from an error in the first weeks of embryonic development.
- In anencephaly, the bones of the skull and brain do not develop properly. Babies with anencephaly are missing large areas of the brain and have an incomplete skull.
- Anencephaly affects about 1 out of every 1,000 pregnancies, but most cases end up as miscarriages. About 1 out of every 10,000 babies in the U.S. is born with anencephaly.
- In most cases, anencephaly is sporadic, meaning it does not run in families.
- Anencephaly is not compatible with life. Most babies with anencephaly are stillborn or die within days or hours of birth.
- The exact cause of anencephaly is unknown, but it is likely the result of an interaction among several genetic and environmental factors.
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