First person

Young Brazilian woman born with microcephaly writes book on the topic

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Ana Carolina Cáceres, a 24-year-old Brazilian woman who has written a book on microcephaly, a condition in which one is born with a smaller head circumference than average, was diagnosed with the condition as an infant. The Zika virus currently sweeping through Brazil has been associated with a potential risk of pregnant women giving birth to children with microcephaly. But microcephaly can occur for a variety reasons — in Ana’s case it was caused by craniosynostosis, a condition in which an infant’s normally soft skull prematurely hardens. Initially doctors warned Ana’s mother that her daughter might never walk, talk, or even reach adulthood. But five surgeries that removed the skull from Ana’s forehead allowed her brain to grow, and, despite enduring convulsions until she was 14, she developed normally, went to school, and graduated college with a degree in journalism.

Ana’s goal is to become a successful journalist within the next five to six years. But she’s making an impact in other ways, such as spending time with girls like Patricia Tavares, 20, who was born with a genetic case of microcephaly. “Patricia is still learning to read and write, but after she met Ana Carolina she became more encouraged,” says Patricia’s mother. “She wants to be someone in life.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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