Miracle boy born with 'no brain' astounds doctors three years after scans

A boy born with a severe birth defect that destroyed all but a small fraction of his brain has left doctors in awe after recent head scans years later.

When 4-year-old Noah Wall was born, he had spina befida and hydrocephalus -- a condition that left the infant with virtually no functional brain tissue and a swollen head -- doctors feared the worst.

See risk factors for complications during pregnancy:

Risk factors for complications during pregnancy
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Risk factors for complications during pregnancy

Advanced maternal age

Pregnancy risks are higher for mothers age 35 and older.

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Lifestyle choices

Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and using illegal drugs can put a pregnancy at risk.

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Medical history

 A prior C-section, low birth weight baby or preterm birth — birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy — might increase the risk in subsequent pregnancies. Other risk factors include a family history of genetic conditions, a history of pregnancy loss or the death of a baby shortly after birth.

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Underlying conditions

Chronic conditions — such as diabetes, high blood pressure and epilepsy — increase pregnancy risks. A blood condition, such as anemia, an infection or an underlying mental health condition also can increase pregnancy risks.

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Pregnancy complications

Various complications that develop during pregnancy pose risks, such as problems with the uterus, cervix or placenta. Other concerns might include too much amniotic fluid (polyhydramnios) or low amniotic fluid (oligohydramnios), restricted fetal growth, or Rh (rhesus) sensitization — a potentially serious condition that can occur when your blood group is Rh negative and your baby's blood group is Rh positive.

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Multiple pregnancy

Pregnancy risks are higher for women carrying twins or higher order multiples.

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They suggested Noah's parents Shelly, 44, and Rob Wall, 50, terminate the pregnancy rather than birth a child whose odds of survival were expected to be severely limited due to his mental and physical disabilities.

Despite the high risks, however, the parents opted to see the pregnancy through.

And to many's surprise, the family reported Noah to be singing, sitting up straight and playing games on the computer at age two.

Fast forward two more years, and Noah is now able to talk, trace the letters of his name and count to ten, his mother told the Cumberland News & Star.

SEE ALSO: Heartbreaking photos show how a mom spent 16 days with dead baby girl

Scans doctors conducted have shown tremendous development in Noah's brain, developing almost 80 percent of brain tissue in the past four years -- a large leap from the reported 2 percent of functional brain tissue he was born with.

"I was planning his funeral while I was pregnant - I could never have imagined this incredible day would come," he mother told the outlet.

Noah has since been enrolled in school for one year, attending the Allonby Primary School in Cumbria -- a village in western England -- one day a week.

"Noah will show us exactly what he's capable of and just what he wants to do in life," his mother said. "He's so determined and we're so proud."

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