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Published on TBNWeekly.com - Sept. 5, 2007
Walk raises awareness of hydrocephalus
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Photo by MIKE RIDDICK
About 100 people participated in the Walk for hydrocephalus at Largo Central Park on Sept. 2.
 
LARGO – It’s a disease that affects more than 375,000 million Americans. There is no cure or no prescription drug treatment.

Hydrocephalus is an accumulation of too much spinal fluid on the brain, according to National Institutes of Health. Water actually helps cushion the brain, but too much causes harmful pressure.

There are two kinds of hydrocephalus. In congenital hydrocephalus, the causes can be genetic or associated with the way fetal development takes place.

The main sign of congenital hydrocephalus is an enlarged brain.

Acquired hydrocephalus comes on at any age and its causes include head injuries, strokes, infections, bleeding in the brain and tumors and bleeding in the brain.

Symptoms include headaches, cognitive problems, balance and bladder control problems, vomiting and blurry vision.

To make the general public more aware of this disease more than 100 people got together for a walk-a-thon to raise awareness at Largo Central Park on Sept. 2.

According to information released Sunday afternoon, the thired annual walk-a-thon resulted in $19,913 to benefit the Hydrocephalus Association based in San Francisco. The money is used to fund the various programs available by families. The Association supports educations and helps to empower individuals to be their own health advocates.

Paula and Mark Keyser of Largo started this annual event in 2005.

The couple began with a support group picnic at their house in 2004 in hopes of finding other families with the same situation as theirs. Their son, Jeremy, who turned six in July, was born with this condition due to an intraventricular hemorrhage prior to birth. Jeremy’s condition is treated with a programmable shunt. Other than a few setbacks and delays, Jeremy is expected to be able to live a normal healthy life. However, shunts do come with complications and their drawbacks.

Hydrocephalus is the “ugly sister” of medical research.

Medical costs exceeds more than $1 billion a year, yet less than $1 million is invested in research cures for the disease, according to Paula Keyser who heads up the Tampa Bay Team Hydrocephalus.

People from all walks of life and from all over the Bay Area attended the walk. There were people inflicted with hydrocephalus participating as well with ages ranging from toddlers to an 83-year-old.

For more information on the local support group, e-mail hydrosupport@gmail.com.

Suzette Porter contributed to this story
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