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Children's Health

Thinning of Corpus Callosum



my nephew (age six )has been diagnosed with thinning of corpus callosum what does it mean --- is there any treatment for this doctors in my part of the world could not give a satisfactory explanation kindly help

thank you


Thank you for your question. The corpus callosum is the part of the brain that connects each half of the brain to the other. This helps us in learning and doing things where we need to use our knowledge of things learned in the past along with knowledge of things occurring in the present as well as in tasks where we draw on each side of the brain to combine their efforts in processing information from our eyes and ears.

Problems with the corpus callosum are usually the result of problems in the movement of neurons (brain cells) from their birth place in the germinal matrix in the developing baby's brain to their rightful place in the corpus and their development into corpus callosum connecting cells. So in your nephew's case there are some neurons here but not as many as expected. The problem of corpus callosum thinning is commonly seen in preterm babies born before 32 weeks gestation. I don't know if your your nephew was preterm or not. Exposures to heavy metals such as lead and mercury as well as to radiation and alcohol are known to harm brain cell movement. There may be no cause at all that can be identified for this problem, which is very frustrating for parents.

Thinning of the copus callosum may also be associated with vision and hearing problems in children, heart defects, seizure disorders, genetic disorders, and poor growth. A thorough evaluation to assess for these problems is a very good idea.

If your nephew was a former preterm infant, there was a reassuring study in 2005 showing that in adulthood, the former preterm infants' brains were able to adapt to handle learning tasks successfully. This was a small study, but a reassuring study. Thinning associated with genetic disorders, however, often, but not always, means learning problems are likely.

The best thing to do for your nehew is to help his parents to make sure he can see and hear as well as possible. Then read to and talk with him regularly each day and support his success in school with tutors or with special education. It is important to get him any help he needs as soon as possible so that he is able to learn to the best of his ability.

Jospeh J. Volpe, 2008, Neurology of the Newborn (5th ed.), Philadelphia:Elsevier.

Spencer MD, Moorhead TW, Gibson RJ, McIntosh AM, Sussmann JE, Owens DG, Lawrie SM, Johnstone EC. 2008, Low brthweight and preterm birth in young people with special educational needs: A magnetic resonance imaging analysis. BMC Med.  Jan 30;6:1.

Nosarti C
, Giouroukou E, Healy E, Rifkin L, Walshe M, Reichenberg A, Chitnis X, Williams SC, Murray RM.(2008). Grey and white matter distribution in very preterm adolescents mediates neurodevelopmental outcome. Brain, 131, 205-213.


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Response by:

Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University