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Cerebral atrophy?
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Cerebral atrophy?

My 14 month old daughter has just been diagnosed with cerebral atrophy and with a bilateral frontal hygromas. I'm so lost right now and not sure what to think. They don't know the cause yet, she is undergoing genetic testing on Monday in hopes to clarify stuff. She was born at 32 weeks and 5 days, stayed in the hospital for 18 days. At about 6 months of age when they were doing her check ups and measuring her, they noticed that her head was growing quicker than the rest of her. They monitored her and then referred her to a pediatrician who decided to send her for an MRI, which came back yesterday with the above problems. Now I did some research on the Internet, but haven't found a whole lot of info. If anyone has any information for me, can you please share.

Thank you so much.

Nathalie, a distraught mother of a very special girl.
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Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with your doctor.

Without the ability to examine your daughter and obtain a history, I can not tell you what the exact cause of her symptoms are nor the implications of her MRI findings. However I will try to provide you with some useful information.

It surely must be a difficult time for you, I will try to use simplified terms to try to explain a few things. Cerebral atrophy means, to put it somewhat crudely but as simply as I can, a shrunken brain. This could be due to many causes. In an infant, there are a few potential causes. One is lack of development of the brain to begin with, due to a problem in utero in early development. Another in utero problem could have been a brain infection. Post-natallay (after birth) if she sustained lack of oxygen to the brain or some other type of global insult, the brain could become smaller. In addition, certain genetic and metabolic problems could cause this type of finding. Bilateral frontal hygromas means that the area in the front part of the brain has fluid; the normal fluid that normally bathes the brain (spinal fluid) has filled up the space left by the shrunken brain or left by some other process that was there and resolved (such as bleeding, such as due to a type of bleed called subdural hematoma). If the cause was some type of insult in utero or shortly after birth, further progression may not occur. However, if there is some sort of genetic or metabolic problem, further shrinking could potentially occur (what is termed a neurodegenerative disorder).

In order to sort out all these possibilities, evaluation by a pediatric neurologist (rather than a general pediatrician) would be of benefit to your daughter. Based on her history, examination, review of her MRI, and some blood tests and other testing, the pediatric neurologist would hopefully be able to provide you with some answers.

Thank you for this opportunity to answer your questions, I hope you find the information I have provided useful, good luck.
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