Definition: Cerebral palsy is a broad term used to describe conditions whereby brain trauma adversely affects a child's motor abilities.
Cerebral refers to the brain, palsy refers to a disorder of movement or posture.
This disease is caused by injury or abnomality of the brain. Most commonly, the problems occur as the baby is growing in its mother's womb, but problems can also occur any time during the first two years of life.
-In some cases, parts of the brain are injured from low levels of oxygen for no known reason. When brain cells are not getting enough oxygen due to poor circulation, they may die.
-Cerebral palsy may occur during early infancy as a result of bleeding in the brain, brain infections, head injury, enfections in the mother during pregnancy, or sever jaundice.
-In some cases, the cause is never determined.
About 8,000 babies are born with cerebral palsy each year and about 1000 more cases are recognized in the first few years of life.
70% of cases are present at birth, 20% occur during birth, and 10% acquire it in the first years of life.
Diagnosis & Treatment:
A full neurological exam is critical. Other test such as blood test, CT scan of the head, EEG, hearing screen, MRI of the head, and vision screening can help determine what kind of treatment will be necessary.
Although cerebral palsy does not affect life expectancy, there is no cure for this disorder, so the treatment goal is to help the person be as independent as possible.