A combination of vitamins may be useful for the prevention of hydrocephalus, a new study has found.
Scientists at the University of Manchester and Lancaster University conducted laboratory tests which have shown that a cocktail of vitamins that includes tetrahydrofolate and folic acid significantly diminishes the risk of the debilitating condition.
The research also established that the beneficial effect occurred at any stage of pregnancy.
As a result, Dr Jaleel Miyan, who led the research team, has suggested the combination folate supplements could be given to a woman whose fetus has been shown to have hydrocephalus to improve brain development and perhaps even reverse the process.
Hydrocephalus stems from a change in the composition of the cerebrospinal fluid leading to a build-up of fluid within the chambers of the brain which prevents normal growth of the brain cells.
It typically causes significant brain damage.
Women who are planning on becoming pregnant are also encouraged to increase their daily intake of folic acid to help prevent other birth defects, such as spina bifida and anencephaly.
The findings of the study were published in the Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology.