Despite the last 60 years of medical researches, Cerebral Palsy (CP)
is claiming thousands of lives all over the world. Specifically in the
developed countries, deaths from cerebral palsy are roughly around
2-2.5 per 1000 live births. Even contrivances such as electro-fetal
monitoring have not provided great break-throughs.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
palsy is a combination of two words – the former refers to the brain
and the later refers to inability to move. Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a
broad term comprising a group of non-contagious, non-progressive
neurological disorders, which result in physical immobility of human
beings, particularly the posture and movement.
disorder becomes manifest when the motor control centers of the young
budding brain are damaged. It mostly crops up during pregnancy (in
around 75 percent cases), or at the time of childbirth (in around 5
percent cases) or even after the child is born (in around 15 percent
cases), of course, before the child becomes three years old.
roots of congenital CP are yet to be clarified. Nevertheless, it is
clear that children born under certain circumstances are highly prone
to this disorder. The circumstances being:
Existence of hemorrhage in the brain
Newborns needing ventilator for more than 4 weeks
Undersized infants who do not cry within first 5 minutes of delivery
Malformations in internal system like kidneys, heart or spine and
Incidents of seizures
are some cases of CP occurring from injuries in head during infancy or
early childhood. Prolonged infections and undernourishment too are
known to lead to the disorder after birth.
palsy can be segregated into four major categories based on the area of
brain damaged. These classifications also project the different
disabilities in movement. The four major classes of Cerebral Palsy are:
Spastic or Athetoid
Signs And Symptoms
of the cerebral palsy patients reflect symptoms like abnormal muscle
tone, reflexes, posture or motor coordination and development. Cerebral
palsy is also associated with deformities in the bones and joints, and
contractures (that is permanently fixed, tight joints and muscles).
secondary symptoms of cerebral palsy are: spasms, seizures, and other
involuntary movements, eating problems, sensory impairments, hearing or
vision impairments, disorders in speech or communication, behavioral
disorders, disability to learn as well as mental retardation.
How Is It Diagnosed?
Diagnosis of cerebral palsy is not easy in all the cases, as it
involves an inexact time of waiting. A doctor can consider the
aberrations in the muscles and muscle tones, movements and reflexes.
tests and scans like Computed Tomography or CT and Magnetic Resonance
Imaging (MRI) are used to diagnose cerebral palsy. However, these tests
do not fully establish whether a child is suffering from cerebral palsy
The treatment of cerebral palsy
involves different types of therapies, which allow the patients
afflicted with disorder to lead a better life. In some cases, the
children are able to lead normal adult lives if their disabilities are
The treatment of cerebral palsy may
include drugs to control seizures, alleviate pain and relax muscle
spasms. Occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy and
surgery are used to check the anatomical abnormalities or release tight
muscles. Communication aids include computers with attached voice
synthesizers. Wheelchairs, rolling walkers, braces and other orthotic
devices too are used but there is still no specific cure for cerebral