Neural Tube Defect

What is a Neural Tube Defect?

A neural tube defect is an opening in the spinal cord or brain that develops early on during fetal growth. An NTD may develop during the second week of pregnancy (grastulation), when specialized cells in the fetus begin to fuse to form the neural tube, and the neural tube does not fully close.

NTDs occur in approximately one in 1,000 births in the United States, making it one of the most common birth defects in newborns. The neural tube defect is divided into different types including the following:

  • Anencephaly – head end of the nueral tube fails to close
  • Encephaloceles
  • Hydranencephaly – cerebral hemispheres are missing and replaced with cerebrospinal fluid
  • Iniencephaly – rare NTD resulting in extreme bending of the head to the spine
  • Spina bifida cystica – herniation of only the meninges through the spinal canal or herniation or meninges and the spinal cord through the opening
  • Spina bifida occulta — parts of the bones of the spine called the spinous process and neural arch appear abnormal on a radiogram – generally harmless

Possible Causes for a Neural Tube Defect

There are several potential causes for neural tube defects in newborns, which include:

  • Maternal diabetes
  • Maternal obesity
  • Mycotoxins in contaminated cornmeal
  • Arsenic
  • Hyperthermia during early development
  • Radiation

Additionally, recent studies have shown that the chances of having a child with spina bifida increases by 1% to 2% when the fetus has been exposed to the drug Depakote early on in pregnancy. As a result, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has placed Depakote in pregnancy category D.

Steps to Take Toward a Potential Neural Tube Defect Lawsuit

The drug Depakote has been linked with the neural tube defects such as spina bifida – which may cause serious side effects in newborns. If you or a loved one has given birth to a child with a neural tube defect, you may be entitled to compensation. To find out if you are eligible, contact a neural tube defect lawyer at Chaffin Luhana, LLP. Call 1-888-480-1123 immediately for a free and confidential case review today.