Spina bifida is a neural tube defect occurring when the tissue surrounding the developing spinal cord of a fetus does not form properly. The neural tube is the embryonic structure that, in time develops into the baby's brain and spinal cord and the tissues that enclose them. Defects are most often found along the lower portion of the spine.
Typically, the neural tube forms in the developing baby early in the pregnancy and closes by the 26th day after conception. Later, the top of this tube becomes the baby's brain, and the remainder of the tube becomes the baby's spinal cord. In babies with spina bifida, a portion of the neural tube fails to develop or close properly, causing defects in the spinal cord and in the bones that make up the backbone. In the USA, approximately 1 in every 2,000 children are born with spina bifida.
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This is a well done video outlining spina bifida and depicting a mans struggle with the disorder.