20 March 2017 // For Brain Awareness Week, which took place from March 13th – 19th, IF added its support by providing information on preventing and reducing the risks of developing Hydrocephalus. It is a disability which, if treated properly, isn't always visible. It is also a condition which is surrounded by stigma and misinformation. Parents may be told that their child is brain damaged and will be "a vegetable". Yet with proper treatment, many people with Hydrocephalus will be able to live their lives equal to others. Their brain may be working differently, they may experience specific cognitive issues, but with the right support a solution can be found.
Certain factors can increase the likelihood of developing hydrocephalus, such as: Neural Tube Defects (NTDs) and premature birth. Obesity, smoking, or infections like meningitis or chlamydia can be risks for preterm birth, so subsequently a secondary risk factor for Hydrocephalus. The Global Prevention Initiative aims to reduce the global incidence of hydrocephalus by raising public health awareness, taking into account the different social, political and cultural factors in a country. For more information, read our “Reducing Hydrocephalus risk factors” article.
Furthermore, we should not ignore the connection between mental health isues and the functioning of the brain, especially this year, in which IF is highlighting the importance of mental health within the Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus community. Not having their disability acknowledged, lacking proper treatment and support, repeated surgeries and hospital stays due to shunt failure, or living with chronic pain, can all have an impact on a person's mental well-being.
We are happy to join the #undertheumbrella campaign by sharing a photo of our IF staff supporting Hydrocephalus as part of our awareness work. Even though the Brain Awareness Week has officially ended, we invite you all to continue to support this campaign through your social media channels!
For more information, please see our factsheet on Hydrocephalus.