macrocephaly in autism and other pervasive developmental disorders.
Macrocephaly is a condition in which the head is larger than normal.
Also called macrocephalia and megalocephaly, macrocephaly is diagnosed when the circumference of the head is more than two standard deviations above average for the child's age, sex, race, and period of gestation.
Macrocephaly is distinguished from hydrocephalus in that there is no increase in pressure within the head; however, hydrocephalus can result in macrocephaly in some children.
Because of the many conditions that cause macrocephaly, a true assessment of its incidence is difficult.
Macrocephaly may be caused by many conditions.
When macrocephaly is a result of megalencephaly, it is often impossible to determine the cause.
In some cases, a child may have benign macrocephaly.
The major symptom of macrocephaly is an enlarged head circumference.
Macrocephaly is usually diagnosed by the pediatrician during a physical examination.
Some children will require additional diagnostic imaging procedures, such as computed tomography scan (CAT scan), x ray, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to determine the cause of the macrocephaly and the appropriate treatment.
There is no specific treatment for macrocephaly.
Medical care for children with macrocephaly focuses on management of specific symptoms such as developmental delays and mental retardation and treatment of the primary diagnosis responsible for the macrocephaly.
For children with benign familial macrocephaly, the prognosis is excellent.
For other children with macrocephaly, the prognosis is dependent upon the cause.
Unfortunately, many children with macrocephaly experience delayed development, slow growth, seizure disorders, and limited intelligence.
All of these are related to the underlying condition that caused the macrocephaly.
Macrocephaly is often present at birth or is a result of conditions that are present at birth.
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