KidsMD Health Topics

Request an Appointment

If this is a medical emergency, please dial 9-1-1. This form should not be used in an emergency.

Patient Information
Date of Birth:
Contact Information
Appointment Details
Send RequestIf you do not see the specialty you are looking for, please call us at: 617-355-6000.International visitors should call International Health Services at +1-617-355-5209.
Please complete all required fields

This department is currently not accepting appointment requests online. Please call us at: 617-355-6000. International +1-617-355-6000.

This department is currently not accepting appointment requests online. Please call us at: 617-355-6000. International +1-617-355-6000.

Thank you.

Your request has been successfully submitted

You will be contacted within 1 business day.

If you have questions or would like more information, please call:

617-355-6000 +1-617-355-6000
Find a Doctor
Search by Clinician's Last Name or Specialty:
Select by Location:
Search by First Letter of Clinician's Last Name: *ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Condition & Treatments
Search for a Condition or Treatment:
View allSearch

Microcephaly in Children

  • Microcephaly Overview

    The human brain is a powerful organ with an amazing ability to process information, master complex behavior and create works of art, science and literature. However, while developing in infancy, the brain is also very vulnerable: even slight disruptions can have serious long-term results.

    When a child has microcephaly, abnormal brain development results in an abnormal head size – much smaller than other children of the same age. (“Micro” means “small,” while “cephaly” comes from the Greek word for “head.”) These complications can also lead to problems with a child’s cognitive abilities and neurological functions.

    Here are some of the key facts about microcephaly:

    • It can be congenital – meaning present at birth – or it can occur later during infancy.
    • It is relatively rare, affecting about 25,000 children in the U.S. each year.
    • It can be an isolated condition, or it can be associated with another medical problem.
    • It often (but not always) causes learning disabilities and other neurological issues.

    Unfortunately, microcephaly is a lifelong condition that cannot be cured. However, there is hope: Advances in neurological care have made possible new ways of managing a child’s symptoms, allowing a child to achieve and enjoy an optimal quality of life.

    How Boston Children’s Hospital approaches microcephaly

    Boston Children’s has a long and distinguished history of caring for children with complex diseases and disorders of the brain, spine and central nervous system. Clinicians in our Department of Neurology and Department of Neurosurgery are regarded as international leaders in understanding and treating rare conditions like microcephaly.

    In particular, our Fetal-Neonatal Neurology Program specializes in diagnosing, studying and managing microcephaly and a broad spectrum of other conditions that affect newborns’ brains. Our expert care team includes:

    • neurologists, doctors with extensive training in diseases of the nervous system
    • developmental psychologists, doctors who study the mental and behavioral health changes children experience as they grow
    • nurses with significant experience in the neurosciences
    • social workers, who provide counseling and offer emotional and psychosocial support

    At the same time, doctors and researchers in our Division of Genetics are working hard to understand how and why microcephaly develops, in hopes of one day introducing new therapies – and the chance of a cure.

    Did you know?

    Boston Children's Hospital has been ranked #1 in the nation in pediatric neurology and neurosurgery by U.S. News & World Report. Learn more.

    Microcephaly: Reviewed by Janet S. Soul, MD
    © Boston Children’s Hospital; posted in 2011

The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO