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Home :: Cerebral Palsy

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Cerebral Palsy - Picture, symptom, Treatment of Cerebral Palsy in infant

Cerebral Palsy Information

The word "Cerebral" refers to the brain and "Palsy" refers to a disorder of movement or posture. Cerebral palsy is poor muscle control, spasticity, paralysis, and other neurologic problems resulting from brain injury before, during, or shortly after birth. It can be defined as chronic conditions affecting body movements and muscle coordination. Cerebral palsy is not a disease; it is a constellation of symptoms that result from damage to the parts of the brain that control muscle movements. Cerebral palsy encompasses any disorder of abnormal movement and paralysis caused by abnormal function of the cerebral cortex. Though spastic children are universally identified as children with CP, there are actually 4 types of CP - 1) Spastic CP - It is the most common type in which the muscles are stiff & weak (due to uncontrolled contraction of the muscles) . The stiffness may occur in both legs (diplegia), in the leg & arm on the same side (hemiplegia), or in all four limbs (quadriplegia). These children usually show toe walking & typical crossed (scissoring) gait. 2) Dyskinetic CP(Athetotic CP) - Patients with this type of CP have bizarre twisting motions or unusual posturing. 3) Mixed CP - It is a combination of the above two types. 4) Hypotonic CP - These children usually present with low muscle tone & increased floppiness. These children eventually develop spasticity or athetosis. The risk for CP in a preterm infant (32-37 weeks) is increased about five-fold over the risk for an infant born at term.

Causes of Cerebral Palsy

Many different types of injury to the brain can cause cerebral palsy, and most often a specific cause cannot be identified. Child who is at highest risk for developing CP is the premature, very small baby who does not cry in the first five minutes after delivery, who needs to be on a ventilator for over four weeks, and who has bleeding in his brain.

  • Birth injuries and poor oxygen supply to the brain before, during, and immediately after birth cause 10 to 15% of cases.
  • Prenatal infections, such as rubella, toxoplasmosis, or cytomegalovirus infection, sometimes result in cerebral palsy.
  • During the first years of life, severe illness, such as inflammation of the tissues covering the brain (meningitis), sepsis, trauma, and severe dehydration, can cause brain injury and result in cerebral palsy.

Sign and Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy

The signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy disorder can range from barely noticeable clumsiness to severe spasticity that contorts the child's arms and legs, requiring mobility aids, such as braces, crutches, and wheelchairs. Many noticable symptoms are as follows:

  • muscle tightness or spasm
  • involuntary movement
  • disturbance in gait and mobility
  • abnormal sensation and perception
  • impairment of sight, hearing or speech
  • seizures

Diagnosis, Treatment, and Cure of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is difficult to diagnose during early infancy. A physician may suspect cerebral palsy in a child whose development of these skills is delayed. Cerebral palsy cannot be cured; its problems are lifelong. However, much can be done to improve a child's mobility and independence. Physical therapists help children learn better ways to move and balance. Surgical treatment may be performed to cut or lengthen tendons of the stiff muscles that limit motion. Sometimes cutting certain nerve roots coming from the spinal cord improves the spasticity. A speech and language therapist helps develop better control of the jaw and mouth muscles, which can improve speech and language skills and eating abilities.  Seizures can be treated with anticonvulsant drugs.

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