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What is the role of cerebrospinal fluid in NPH? August 15, 2012

Posted by mvarlan in Uncategorized.

CSF is an acronym for cerebrospinal fluid. Your body makes CSF in hollow structures in the center of your brain called ‘ventricles.’ Specialized cells called ependymal cells line your ventricles and work in concert with capillaries underlying them to produce CSF from substances in your blood. They also circulate CSF throughout your brain and spinal cord by means of tiny tail-like appendages called cilia.

Cerebrospinal fluid plays a vital role in cushioning your brain and spinal cord and regulating the volume of blood in your brain. CSF is also responsible for bringing nutrients to the cells in your brain and removing toxins from your central nervous system.

Normal adults have about 125 to 150 cc of CSF in their brain at any given time. Your ependymal cells make 400-500 ml of this fluid each day and also reabsorb excess fluid naturally to maintain normal levels and pressure.

Individuals with Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH) do not reabsorb the excess CSF, causing a large volume of fluid to accumulate in the ventricles of the brain. This causes the nerve fibers in your brain to stretch, producing the typical symptoms of NPH: urinary incontinence, gait disturbances, and memory problems.


Maggie Bobrowitz, RN, MBA
Neuroscience Program Coordinator
Barrow Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus Center



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