Lissencephaly is a birth defect that involves the folds of the brain. Rather than the brain being full of ridges and bumpy, a child with lissencephaly will have a smooth brain surface.
Because the nerve cells are not in the proper location, they cannot communicate with one another, which will cause the cells in the cerebral cortex to be abnormal. In return, the cerebral cortex only has four layers, instead of the usual six.
Common symptoms include facial anomalies, low muscle tone, feeding complications, seizures, mental retardation, heart complications, kidney abnormalities, muscular dystrophy, respiratory complications, hydrocephalus, poor head control and a shortened life span. A CT scan of the brain can clearly diagnose the condition.
There is no cure for the condition, but medications can be given to control seizures. If the feeding complications are severe, a feeding tube may be necessary for proper nourishment. If the child has hydrocephalus, a shunt will be placed in the brain to drain excess fluid off the brain.
Physical therapy is recommended. The expected life span is approximately two years, but there are individuals that have lived longer than expected.