Original Research

Neural tube defects

M.E. Marshall
Curationis | Vol 3, No 4 | a297 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v3i4.297 | © 1981 M.E. Marshall | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 September 1981 | Published: 26 September 1981

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M.E. Marshall, Department of Health, Social Welfare and Pensions, South Africa


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Abstract

Neural tube defects refer to any defect in the morphogenesis of the neural tube, the most common types being spina bifida and anencephaly. Spina bifida has been recognised in skeletons found in north-eastern Morocco and estimated to have an age of almost 12 000 years. It was also known to the ancient Greek and Arabian physicians who thought that the bony defect was due to the tumour. The term spina bifida was first used by Professor Nicolai Tulp of Amsterdam in 1652. Many other terms have been used to describe this defect, but spina bifida remains the most useful general term, as it describes the separation of the vertebral elements in the midline.

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