Cerebral palsy

Head | Neurology | Cerebral palsy (Disease)


Cerebral palsy (CP) is a term describing a group of non-progressive, non-contagious motor conditions that cause physical disability in human development, chiefly in the various areas of body movement.

All types of cerebral palsy are characterized by abnormal muscle tone (slouching over while sitting), reflexes, or motor development and coordination. Movement and coordination problems associated with cerebral palsy may include: lack of muscle coordination called ataxia; tremors or involuntary movements; slow, writhing movements known as athetosis, delays in reaching motor skills milestones; difficulty walking; excessive drooling or difficulty with swallowing; difficulty with sucking or eating; delays in speech development or difficulty speaking; difficulty with precise motions, such as picking up a crayon or spoon. People with cerebral palsy may also have: difficulty with vision and hearing, intellectual disabilities or mental retardation, seizures, abnormal touch or pain perceptions, dental problems and urinary incontinence.

A number of complications can accrue such as: malnutrition, depression, premature aging, osteoarthritis, scoliosis, bowel obstruction, pneumonia caused by choking.

Causes and Risk factors

There are several different types of cerebral palsy, including spastic, dyskinetic, ataxic, hypotonic and mixed. These disorders all result from damage to the developing brain either before or during birth or during a childs early year such as bleeding in the brain, brain infections such as encephalitis, meningitis, herpes simplex infections, head injury, infections in the mother during pregnancy, severe jaundice, shaken baby syndrome, incidents involving hypoxia to the brain such as near drowning.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The diagnosis includes CT scan, MRI of the head, vision testing, blood tests and other additional tests. There is no cure for cerebral palsy.

The goal of treatment is to help the person be as independent as possible. ...

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