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Am J Med Genet A. 2005 Aug 30;137(2):181-9.

Schizencephaly: heterogeneous etiologies in a population of 4 million California births.

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Genetic Medicine Central California, 351 East Barstow #106, Fresno, CA 93710, USA.


Schizencephaly is a rare congenital brain defect characterized by gray matter lined clefts of the cerebral mantle, frequently accompanied by other defects of the CNS such as absence of the corpus callosum. This study in a California population of >4 million births from 1985-2001 found a population prevalence of 1.54/100,000. Among 63 cases, there was an association with young parental age in isolated schizencephaly (RR 3.9 mothers; 5.8 fathers), which was also seen in mothers but not fathers of non-isolated cases (RR 3.2). Monozygotic twins may also be at increased risk for schizencephaly (RR 2.1). One third of cases had a non-CNS abnormality, over half of which could be classified as secondary to vascular disruption, including gastroschisis, bowel atresias, and amniotic band disruption sequence. Other apparent rare causes included chromosomal aneuploidy, non-random associations, and unusual syndromes. Our observations suggest that schizencephaly has heterogeneous etiologies many of which are vascular disruptive in origin.

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