What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a mental illness characterised by impairments in the perception or expression of reality, most commonly manifesting as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions or disorganised speech and thinking in the context of significant social or occupational dysfunction.

Studies suggest that genetics, early environment, neurobiology and psychological and social processes are important contributory factors.

A person experiencing schizophrenia may demonstrate symptoms such as disorganised thinking, auditory hallucinations, and delusions.

Diagnosis is based on the self-reported experiences of the person as well as abnormalities in behavior reported by family members, friends or co-workers, followed by secondary signs observed by a psychiatrist, social worker, clinical psychologist or other clinician in a clinical assessment.

Management of symptoms and improving function is thought to be more achievable than a cure. Treatment was revolutionised in the mid 1950s with the development and introduction of chlorpromazine.

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What is a Clubfoot or Feet?

A clubfoot, or talipes equinovarus (TEV), is a birth defect. The foot is twisted in (inverted) and down. Without treatment , persons afflicted often appear to walk on their ankles, or on the sides of their feet. It is a common birth defect, occurring in about 1 in every 1,000 live births.

Approximately 50% of cases of clubfoot are bilateral. In most cases it is an isolated dysmelia. Incidence in males is higher than in females.

There are different causes for clubfoot: Mainly caused by Edwards’ syndrome, a genetic defect with 3 copies of chromosome 18 genetic causes with incidence rates increasing significantly when multiple direct family members have the condition external influences such as intrauterine compression from oligohydramnios or from amniotic band syndrome.

Clubfoot is treated with manipulation largely by a podiatrist, sometimes an orthopedic surgeons, specialist nurses, or orthotists, will treat the condition by providing FAB braces to hold the feet in orthodox positions, serial casting, or small splints called knee ankle foot orthoses(KAFO).

After correction has been achieved, maintenance of correction may require the full-time (23 hours per day) use of a splint—also known as a foot abduction brace (FAB)—on both feet, regardless or whether the TEV is on one side or both, for several weeks after treatment. Part-time use of a brace (generally at night, usually 12 hours per day) is frequently prescribed for up to 4 years.

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What is Hearing Impairment?

A hearing impairment or hearing loss is a full or partial decrease in the ability to detect or understand sounds.

A hearing impairment exists when an individual is not sensitive to the sounds normally heard by its kind. In human beings, the term hearing impairment is usually reserved for people who have relative insensitivity to sound in the speech frequencies.

Hearing loss can be inherited. Both dominant and recessive genes exist which can cause mild to profound impairment. If a family has a dominant gene for deafness it will persist across generations because it will manifest itself in the offspring even if it is inherited from only one parent.

People who are hard of hearing have varying amounts of hearing loss but usually not enough to be considered deaf. Many people who are deaf consider spoken language their primary language and consider themselves “hard of hearing”.

People with unilateral hearing loss (single sided deafness/SSD) can hear normally in one ear, but have trouble hearing out of the other ear. Problems with this type of deficit is inability to localize sounds.

Those who lose their hearing later in life, such as in late adolescence or adulthood, face their own challenges. For example, they must adjust to living with the adaptations that make it possible for them to live independently. They may have to adapt to using hearing aids or a cochlear implant, develop speech-reading skills, and/or learn sign language.

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What is Dementia?

Dementia is the progressive decline in cognitive function due to damage or disease in the brain beyond what might be expected from normal aging. Although dementia is far more common in the geriatric population, it may occur in any stage of adulthood.

In dementia, affected areas in cognition may be memory, attention, language, and problem solving.

The prevalence of dementia is rising as the global life expectancy is rising. Particularly in Western countries, there is an increasing concern about the economic impact that dementia will have in future, older populaces.

There is no cure to this illness, although scientists are progressing in making a type of medication that will slow down the process. Cholinesterase inhibitors are often used early in the disease course

Tacrine (Cognex), donepezil (Aricept), galantamine (Reminyl), and rivastigmine (Exelon) are approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of dementia induced by Alzheimer disease. They may be useful for other similar diseases causing dementia such as Parkinsons or vascular dementia.

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What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that manifests primarily as a difficulty with written language, particularly with reading and spelling.

Although dyslexia is the result of a neurological difference, it is not an intellectual disability.

Dyslexia occurs at all levels of intelligence, average, above average, and highly gifted.

Dyslexia is most commonly characterized by difficulties with learning how to decode at the word level, to spell, and to read accurately and fluently.

There is no cure for dyslexia, but dyslexic individuals can learn to read and write with appropriate education or treatment.

There is wide research evidence indicating that specialized phonics instruction can help remediate the reading deficits.

In the United States, researchers estimate the prevalence of dyslexia to range from five to nine percent of school-aged children, though some have put the figure as high as 17 percent.

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What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a common chronic neurological disorder that is characterized by recurrent unprovoked seizures. These seizures are transient signs and/or symptoms due to abnormal, excessive or synchronous neuronal activity in the brain.

Epilepsy is usually controlled, but not cured, with medication, although surgery may be considered in difficult cases.

The diagnosis of epilepsy requires that the seizures be unprovoked, with the implication that the provocant is assumed to be something obviously harmful. However, in some epilepsy syndromes, the provocant can reasonably be considered to be part of normal daily life.

Examples of these normal provocants include reading, hot water on the head, hyperventilation, and flashing or flickering lights.

There are many different epilepsy syndromes, each presenting with its own unique combination of seizure type, typical age of onset, EEG findings, treatment, and prognosis.

Epilepsy is usually treated with medication prescribed by a physician; primary caregivers, neurologists, and neurosurgeons all frequently care for people with epilepsy.

In some cases the implantation of a stimulator of the vagus nerve, or a special diet can be helpful. Neurosurgical operations for epilepsy can be palliative, reducing the frequency or severity of seizures; or, in some patients, an operation can be curative.

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The End of Spina Bifida Series

I hope you have enjoyed reading about “What is Spina Bifida?” and of the Famous People that have or had suffered from Spina Bifida. Sadly, we have come to the end of our “Spina Bifida Series”. We now begin our “Cerebral Palsy Series” so please enjoy reading.

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