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Developmental Disorders

Developmental Disorders

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Description:

This lesson will examine factors that can cause certain birth defects or developmental disorders.

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Tutorial

What's Covered

Welcome to this lesson today on developmental disorders. Today you are going to be learning about the causes and effects of various developmental disorders. Specifically, you will learn about:

  1. Teratogen
  2. Spina Bifida
  3. Rubella & Toxoplasmosis
  4. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

1. Teratogen

A teratogen is an agent that can cause birth defects. So teratogens can be things like drugs, infections, deficiency of nutrients, viruses, et cetera.

Term to Know

  • Teratogen
  • Anything that can cause or contribute to the development of a birth defect.

2. Spina Bifida

Spina bifida is a birth defect that is caused by a deficiency of nutrients.

Term to Know

  • Spina Bifida
  • A condition in which lack of folic acid intake by the mother can lead to the neural tube not closing and a portion of the spinal cord being exposed on the child.

So the teratogen in this case would be nutrition. Spina bifida is when the neural tube doesn't close, and therefore, part of the spinal cord may be exposed on the baby.

This is due to a lack of folic acid during development. Folic acid is an important nutrient that mothers need to make sure they get enough of while they are pregnant because folic acid is important in the development of the baby. If they don't get enough folic acid, this neural tube is not going to close, and then they can end up with spina bifida.


3. Rubella & Toxoplasmosis

Rubella and toxoplasmosis, are two disorders that can be caused by infections.

Terms to Know

  • Rubella
  • A virus that can be contracted by a pregnant mother and lead to improper organ development of the baby, also known as German measles.
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • A condition in which parasitic cysts from exposure to cat feces can infect the mother and fetus causing birth defects or miscarriage.

So the teratogen in this case, then, would be an infection. Rubella actually is specifically a virus that inhibits proper development of organs of the baby if the mother contracts the virus while pregnant. If a pregnant mother contracts rubella, it will have an impact on her baby because the organs of that baby might not properly develop.

Toxoplasmosis is caused specifically by a parasitic cyst. These parasitic cysts can affect the fetus and cause birth defects or miscarriage. This is caused through exposure to cat feces.

When mothers are pregnant, they're warned to stay away from any cat feces. If they have a cat in the house, they're supposed to stay away from the litter box, because this parasitic cyst is spread through cat feces. This parasitic cyst can cause birth defects or even a miscarriage if the mother is exposed to them, also known as toxoplasmosis. It's not super common, but it is something that can happen.


4. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

FAS, or fetal alcohol syndrome, is a disorder that causes mental retardation if a mother drinks alcohol while pregnant.

Term to Know

  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • A birth defect that leads to mental retardation due to consumption of alcohol by the mother while pregnant.

So if a mother drinks alcohol while pregnant, it can cause this mental retardation, and this can vary a little bit depending on the severity. Some cases of fetal alcohol syndrome are more severe than others.


Summary

So this lesson has been an overview on various types of developmental disorders and their causes. Specifically, this lesson focused on teratogens, spina bifida, rubella, toxoplasmosis, and fetal alcohol syndrome.

Keep up the learning and have a great day!

Source: THIS WORK IS ADAPTED FROM SOPHIA AUTHOR AMANDA SODERLIND

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Spina Bifida

    A condition in which lack of folic acid intake by the mother can lead to the neural tube not closing and a portion of the spinal cord being exposed on the child.

  • Rubella

    A virus that can be contracted by a pregnant mother and lead to improper organ development of the baby, also known as German measles.

  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

    A birth defect that leads to mental retardation due to consumption of alcohol by the mother while pregnant.

  • Toxoplasmosis

    A condition in which parasitic cysts from exposure to cat feces can infect the mother and fetus causing birth defects or miscarriage.

  • Teratogen

    Anything that can cause or contribute to the development of a birth defect.