Anencephaly is one of the most severe types of neural tube defects. The neural tube is the developing structure that becomes the brain, skull and spine. Anencephaly occurs when the top, or cephalic portion, of the neural tube does not close properly during fetal development. This results in a partial or complete absence of the brain and skull. When carried to term, babies with anencephaly typically die during delivery or shortly thereafter. Currently, there is no cure or treatment for anencephaly and the cause is not known.
Duke University is currently doing research on the condition to find specific genetic and environmental causes.
Currently 1 in 4 pregnancies in the US end in infant loss through miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death shorty after birth.