Rare disorder makes girl's skull too small for brain
Six-year-old Allie Barone had been suffering from severe headaches for a few years — and since her family has a history of epilepsy and migraines, her mother, Stephanie, decided it was finally time to see a specialist.
An MRI revealed Allie had Type I Chiari malformation, which meant the back of her skull was too small for its contents.
"Essentially, what happens, the cerebellum tonsils are pushing through the bottom of the skull and potentially putting pressure on the spinal cord and the tissue of the spinal cord," said Dr. Robert Keating, professor and chief of neurosurgery at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Allie, who lives in Clinton, N.Y., initially went to the Chiari Institute on Long Island, but her parents decided to see Keating for a second opinion.
Keating said the symptoms, which are multiple and vary depending on the patients' age, include headaches and occipital headaches (often made worse by excursion such as running or even sneezing), neurological issues or double vision, and/or the feeling of pins and needles in the legs.