By: Stephanie Tabash
“If CSF (Cerebral Spinal Fluid) is not absorbed by the body at the same rate as it is produced, CSF will accumulate in the ventricles of the brain causing them to expand and put pressure on the brain, nervous system, and blood vessels,” was 15-year-old Hannah Moore’s hypothesis for her eighth-grade Science Fair project in the biology category at Conway Middle School. Being born with hydrocephalus and spina bifida, Hannah was inspired to share her passion at the Science Fair.
“I was feeling excited. I had no need to be anything else” Hannah exclaimed.
Hannah is the second of four children living with her loving parents Susan and Richard. Her older brother Harrison and youngest sister Hailee both have autism. Haven, the second youngest sister, also has hydrocephalus. “We support each other. We all help each other,” Hannah said proudly. Hannah and Haven are two peas in a pod. “Sometimes I’m not forth coming about my hydrocephalus. My sister knows how I’m feeling. She really looks after me and I do the same for her. It’s nice to have someone who knows what you’re going through. I’m glad I can do it for her, too.” The support and encouragement that Hannah experiences at home was the source behind her Science Fair Project.
For her project, Hannah was researching the different regions of the human brain that are affected by hydrocephalus. “It is said that we still understand a very small amount about how the brain actually functions and how to treat many conditions that affect it,” she said, “despite the numerous advances made in medical research, we are still using basically the same method for treating hydrocephalus that we did in the 1950’s, and there is still no cure for it.”
After doing extensive research regarding the topic, she established that the four regions affected by hydrocephalus are as followed: the temporal lobe, the occipital lobe, the cerebellum, and the frontal lobe. The temporal lobe controls one’s memory, equilibrium, and emotions while the occipital lobe is responsible for one’s vision. The cerebellum is associated with a person’s ability to hear and their auditory processes, motor functions, coordination, balance, pituitary, and endocrine functioning. The frontal lobe contributes to one’s higher mental functioning of cognition and concentration. With all these regions of the brain being compromised by hydrocephalus, Hannah and other teens with hydrocephalus continue to shine in all areas of their lives. Whether it is going to the pool with her siblings or winning third place in the biology department at the Science Fair, Hannah has a bright future ahead of her. Her hard work and love for learning propelled Hannah to not only meet the criteria for her assignment, but to excel with flying colors. “Make the best out of any situation, with hydrocephalus or any situation,” was Hannah’s piece of advice.
The next step in her journey is conquering Boone High School where she will join her older brother Harrison. Hannah aspires to study neuropsychology at the University of Central Florida, even though this department does not currently exist. “Hopefully by the time I graduate high school and go to college, this will become a major.”
Hannah’s drive and determination is contagious, not only within her classroom at school but also in her community. Her willingness to stop at nothing to raise awareness about hydrocephalus is inspirational. “Raising awareness about the issue is the first step in finding treatment and prevention of hydrocephalus,” Hannah concluded.