Other Names for this Disease
- Spinal dysraphism
- Cleft spine
- Open spine
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.
neural tube defect in which the bones of the spinal column do not close completely around the developing nerves of the spinal cord during the development of the embryo. As a result, part of the spinal cord may stick out through an opening in the spine, leading to permanent nerve damage. Children born with spina bifida often have a fluid-filled sac on their back covered by skin. If the sac contains part of the spinal cord and its protective covering, it is known as a myelomeningocele; if it does not, it is known as a meningocele. The signs and symptoms range from mild to severe (depending on the location and extent of spinal cord involvement) and can include a loss of feeling below the level of the opening; weakness or paralysis of the feet or legs; problems with bladder and bowel control; hydrocephalus; and learning problems. With surgery and other forms of treatment, many people with spina bifida live into adulthood. There is also a milder form of the condition called spina bifida occulta.Spina bifida is a type of
Last updated: 5/9/2011
- Spina bifida. Genetics Home Reference. February 2011; http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/spina-bifida. Accessed 5/9/2011.
- You can obtain information on this topic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC is recognized as the lead federal agency for developing and applying disease prevention and control, environmental health, and health promotion and education activities designed to improve the health of the people of the United States.
- Genetics Home Reference (GHR) contains information on Spina bifida. This website is maintained by the National Library of Medicine.
- MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
- The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library provides information on this condition for patients and caregivers.
- The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) collects and disseminates research information related to neurological disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.
- The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) is a federation of more than 130 nonprofit voluntary health organizations serving people with rare disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.
- Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
- The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
- Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is a catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
- Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Access to this database is free of charge.
- PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Spina bifida. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.