Published On: Fri, May 27th, 2016

The boy with the 20lb head

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Two-year-old’s skull is the size of a football because of excess fluid on his brain

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A baby boy’s head has swollen to more than three times its normal size due to a medical condition. 

Related: Gravity-defying hair and deep blue eyes has made this Hawaiian baby an internet sensation

Two-year-old Emon, from southern Bangladesh, has a head that weighs 20 lbs (9kg) – the same weight as an average one-year-old boy.

Emon was delivered by Caesarean section with a head that was slightly bigger than usual, but in the past two years it continued to expand.

The huge weight of his head leaves the toddler unable to talk, walk or even move his limbs – meaning his parents have to take care of him constantly.

Desperate to find help for their son they anxiously rushed to nearby villages to see different doctors -but nobody could diagnose what was wrong with him.

They also paid for spiritual treatments for Emon, but nothing worked out and his head kept expanding.

Finally, he was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, which is caused by a buildup of fluid inside the skull, increasing pressure and causing damage to the brain.

The brain and spine are surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which is essential for cushioning the organ, providing nutrients and removing waste products.

The organ constantly produces new CSF (about a pint a day), while old fluid is released from the brain and absorbed into the blood vessels.

However, if this process is interrupted, the level of CSF can quickly build-up, placing pressure on the brain.

Congenital hydrocephalus, present in babies when they’re born, can be caused by birth defects, such as spina bifida – where an infant’s spine doesn’t develop properly.

It can also occur as a result of an infection the mother develops during pregnancy, such as mumps or rubella (German measles).

If left untreated, it carries the risk of long-term mental and physical disabilities as a result of permanent brain damage.

Doctors have told Emon’s parents if he is taken abroad for foreign treatment, medics could help him.

But they say they are too poor to go to another country, so their son’s future is ‘hopeless’.

The news comes after MailOnline reported on the story of Roona Begum -who was given just months to live before she had even reached her second birthday.

She was born with hydrocephalus and her head swelled to the three times its normal size – to a circumference of 94 centimetres (37 inches) – putting pressure on her brain and making it impossible for her to sit upright.

But after a series of operations at a hospital in New Delhi, the excess fluid was drained from her head and her head was dramatically reduced in size to 58 cm.

WHAT IS HYDROCEPHALUS?

Hydrocephalus is a build-up of fluid in the brain.

The excess fluid leads to increased pressure on the brain which can cause damage to the brain tissue.

In the past, hydrocephalus was sometimes referred to as ‘water on the brain’ (the word hydrocephalus comes from the Greek words for water and head).

However, the excess fluid is cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), not water.

The main symptoms of hydrocephalus are: headache, nausea, vomiting, confusion and problems with vision (for example, blurred or double vision).

Congenital hydrocephalus, present in babies when they’re born, can be caused by birth defects, such as spina bifida – where an infant’s spine doesn’t develop properly.

It can also occur as a result of an infection the mother develops during pregnancy, such as mumps or rubella (German measles).

If left untreated, it carries the risk of long-term mental and physical disabilities as a result of permanent brain damage.

The key treatment for hydrocephalus is a shunt.

This is a thin tube implanted in the brain to drain away the excess CSF to another part of the body (often the abdominal cavity, the space around the bowel) where it can be absorbed into the bloodstream.

bangladesh-baby

About the Author

Syed Ammar Alavi

- is Lahore (Pakistan) based journalist & writer with 25-year experience in print, wire and broadcast forms of journalism. His major fields of interest are politics, film,tv,sports, climate change and technology

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