brain malfunctions

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What is Dandy-Walker Syndrome?

Dandy-Walker is an uncommon group of human brain malfunctions that are congenital. The body part that is most affected is the cerebellum of the brain. The cerebellum is the part of the brain that facilitates coordination of movements of muscles in the human body. The Dandy-Walker syndrome causes malfunctions of the heart, fingers and toes, limbs as well as the face. Women are greater culprits of this condition compared to men.

The name Dandy-Walker is derived from Walter Dandy and Arthur Earl Walker, the persons who discovered the disease.

What causes the Dandy-Walker syndrome?

The main cause of this ailment is not known. However, it is considered autosomal recessive. Environmental factors and the health of the mother before birth can also increase the risk of the newborn baby being infected with the disease. These conditions include rubella or acquisition of cytomegalovirus by the woman during her first trimester.

Classifications of the Dandy-Walker syndrome

This condition can be classified into the following:

1. Dandy-Walker syndrome malformation
This is characterized by conditions such as hydrocephalus and the affectation of the spine, better known as spina bifida. In fact, this is the most brutal form of the Dandy-Walker syndrome.

In 10 to 20 percent of people with Dandy-Walker malformation, signs and symptoms of the condition do not appear until late childhood or into adulthood. These individuals typically have a different range of features than those affected in infancy, including headaches, an unsteady walking gait, paralysis of facial muscles (facial palsy), increased muscle tone, muscle spasms, and mental and behavioral changes. Rarely, people with Dandy-Walker malformation have no health problems related to the condition.

Problems related to hydrocephalus or complications of its treatment are the most common cause of death in people with Dandy-Walker malformation.

2. Dandy-Walker mega cistern
This is distinguished by large amounts of cerebrospinal fluid in the cisterna magna.

3. Dandy-Walker variant
It is distinguished by the presence of small cerebellar vermis with no additional features associated with the other variants of the syndrome. It is the least brutal form of the disease.

Symptoms of the Dandy-Walker syndrome

Due to the fact that little babies do not display obvious symptoms or complain without close monitoring, this condition can go for long before being identified. However, common early symptoms include:

  • Abnormal growth of the skull
  • Slow motor growth

In older children, the following symptoms may be observed:

  • Indications of cerebellar dysfunctions including unsteadiness, abnormal movements of the eyes, and poor or total lack of muscle coordination.
  • Increased intracranial pressure. This includes convulsions, vomiting, and unexplainable irritability.
  • swelling at the back of the head
  • abnormal breathing tendencies
  • larger than the normal head circumference

Treatment for the Dandy-Walker syndrome

Treatment for this condition involves relieving off brain pressure that results from brain malfunctions. In case the brain contains excess fluids, the specialists place a ventriculoperitoneal shunt, which facilitates drainage of the fluids as well as controlling the Dandy-Walker complex symptoms. Further specialized treatment therapies are used in order to control the seizures.

Overcoming the Dandy-Walker syndrome with self-improvement tips

#1. Occupational and physical therapies

It is important for the child to have specialized therapies in a bid to help them improve coordination of their movements as well as the better development of muscles.

#2. Speech therapy and specialized education
It is important for the patient to have speech education in order to help them develop their speeches. In addition, because the brains of such persons are not properly developed, they require specialized education to help them understand things better.

#3. Genetic counseling for parents

If you have a child with such a condition, you could be exposed to dangers from their uncontrollable mood changes and behaviors. XpertDox offer counseling therapies for parents looking to learn how best to relate and protect their children from any dangers that may threaten their wellbeing.


Dandy-Walker Syndrome case is often misdiagnosed as athetoid cp and treated for the same.

An early diagnosis, proper counseling to the parents and early rehabilitation can help the child to overcome his disability. This case has been successfully managed with the conservative approach, which itself is a rare occurrence.

About The Author:

Michale Ben is a freelance writer and nutritionist from Nevada, who has written on behalf of a range of clients including the Live Strong Network and Demand Media. In addition to writing about a range of topics, He enjoys playing basketball and cooking in his spare time.

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