More research needed to find a cure for Hydrocephalus - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Walking To Find A Cure

More research needed to find a cure for Hydrocephalus

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - Five year old Ema McLaughen suffers from a condition that affects about 1 in 500 kids, but a lot of people aren't familiar with hydrocephalus, fluid on the brain.  This summer was anything but laid back for her family.  

Chara McLaughen says "She had a shunt malfunction that they really couldn't diagnose, they didn't know what was going on, weren't able to diagnose it with scans."

After a month of being sick,  Ema had to have surgery, the most common method of treating Hydrocephalus.
Doctors surgically insert a shunt system... But statistics show that 50 percent of shunts fail within the first year of being implanted as was the case with Ema.  

Chara McLaughen says "They finally operated took everything out from her brain down to her belly and he tested her shunt and said it wasn't working at all, wasn't draining fluid at all."

Ema was doing well until about four weeks later when she had an accident,  then she had to go back for yet another surgery.

Chara McLaughen says "Went back to surgery again a few days later so three surgeries in about five weeks. "

Chara says that made a total of 9 brain surgeries so far in just five years.

The signs and symptoms of hydrocephalus can vary by age, But here are some common things to look out for..

-A rapid increase in the size of the head
-Delays or problems walking or talking

Chara says because the shunt could fail at any time, you never know what the next day holds, and that's why it is so important to continue raising funds for research with events like the Hydrocephalus walk to find a cure.

Chara McLaughen says "Most importantly is the awareness, so many people don't know what hydrocephalus is and that is why we do what we do, why we spend the time and effort to have this event every October."

And Chara says she has a very good reason to keep walking and keeping working for a cure. 

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