Epidemiology and Aetiological Factors

  • Vivek Josan
  • Andrew Morokoff
  • Wirginia J. Maixner


Spina bifida refers to a wide range of neural tube defects (NTDs) affecting the spine and spinal cord. These defects result from the maldevelopment of the neuropore and the adjacent mesodermal and ectodermal structures during embryogenesis. Spina bifida can be classified as either open or closed type according to the presence or absence of exposed neural tissue. These are called spina bifida aperta and spina bifida occulta, respectively. Spina bifida aperta is caused by the failure of primary neurulation resulting in exposed neural tissue or meninges with or without cerebrospinal fluid leakage. It includes two main types: myelomeningocele and meningocele. Myelomeningocele is the severest form in which the spinal cord and the meninges protrude from an opening in the spine. Meningocele is a less severe form in which only the meninges and non-functional nerves protrude into a sac.


Spina Bifida Neural Tube Defect Folic Acid Supplementation Folic Acid Intake Aetiological Factor 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vivek Josan
    • 1
  • Andrew Morokoff
    • 2
  • Wirginia J. Maixner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Paediatric NeurosurgeryRoyal Children’s HospitalParkvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Paediatric Neurosurgery Children’s Neuroscience CentreRoyal Children’s HospitalParkvilleAustralia

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