Information on Cerebral Palsy at the National Institutes of Health
Cerebral palsy is a catch-all term for neurological disorders, which appear early in life, that impair movement and coordination. The symptoms do not worsen as the individual ages. Some people will develop cerebral palsy following a brain infection or traumatic head injury during the first few months of years of life, but most individuals are born with the condition. Symptom severity can vary greatly amongst individuals. For some children, proper management may allow them to live near-normal adult lives. Others may require lifelong care. Treatment is tailored to the individual's symptoms and may include speech therapy, occupational therapy, medications, brace wearing, and surgery. More at the National Institutes of Health.
What is Cerebral Palsy at United Cerebral palsy
Cerebral palsy, also referred to as CP, is a term used to describe a group of chronic conditions affecting body movement and muscle coordination. It is caused by damage to one or more specific areas of the brain, usually occurring during fetal development; before, during, or shortly after birth; or during infancy. Thus, these disorders are not caused by problems in the muscles or nerves. Instead, faulty development or damage to motor areas in the brain disrupt the brain's ability to adequately control movement and posture. Read more at United Cerebral Palsy.
Information on Cerebral palsy at the University of Virginia Health system
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a broad term that describes a group of neurological (brain) disorders. It is a life-long condition that affects the communication between the brain and the muscles, causing a permanent state of uncoordinated movement and posturing. CP may be the result of an episode that causes a lack of oxygen to the brain. Read more at the University of Virginia Health System.
Podcast: Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy usually develops before birth, although injury or infection of the brain early in life may also cause the condition. Appropriate prenatal care can greatly reduce the risk of a fetus developing cerebral palsy. There are four main types of this condition: ataxic, athetoid, spastic, and mixed. The first sign of cerebral palsy is often failure to meet developmental milestones on time. Early intervention can greatly improve the outcome for the patient, so parents concerned that their child may have cerebral palsy should speak with their doctor soon. Listen to the podcast from the Center for Disease Control.
Evaluation of a child with cerebral palsy
Brain imaging techniques, such as MRI, can help understand the cause of cerebral palsy. Additional underlying conditions that could lead to cerebral palsy should also be taken into account. Patients may also exhibit symptoms commonly associated with cerebral palsy, such as mental retardation, vision problems, hearing problems, and language impairment. View the major recommendations at the National Guideline Clearinghouse.
Providing primary care to minors with cerebral palsy
Primary care physicians should incorporate cerebral palsy screenings into regular checkups. If a child is found to have cerebral palsy, arrangements should be made to help the patient and their family manage the chronic condition. The patient should begin preparations for adult life with cerebral palsy by 12 years of age to allow sufficient time to adjust. Physicians can learn a lot about how to improve their treatment of cerebral palsy by asking for honest feedback from current patients and their families. View the major recommendations at the National Guideline Clearinghouse.
Abstract: Restoring brain function may be a future therapy for cerebral palsy
The brain is able to repair itself following injury by rerouting the neurons. Because cerebral palsy is caused by brain damage, future therapies may exploit the brain's own rewiring ability to treat the condition. View the abstract in Pubmed.
Abstract: Complimentary and Alternative cerebral palsy therapies
Many patients report using complimentary or alternative therapies to manage their cerebral palsy. Exercise and stress relief likely provide a benefit to the patient. However, no detailed studies have been done to date to investigate if these alternative and complementary therapies are effective. View the abstract in Pubmed.
Abstract: Surgical treatment of spastic cerebral palsy
Patients with spastic cerebral palsy may have muscles that remain contracted for too long. Surgery may be able to loosen these muscles. A rehabilitation team is critical to success following the operation. View the abstract in Pubmed.
Abstract: Strengthening the muscles does not reduce cerebral palsy symptoms
Strength training exercises do not appear to play a significant role in recovering gross motor function in patients with cerebral palsy. View the abstract in Pubmed.
Abstract: Partial body weight supported treadmill workouts improve gross motor skills
Walking on a treadmill while supporting part of the body's weight is often used in physical therapy for cerebral palsy. Children undergoing more intense training sessions benefit more than those undergoing less rigorous sessions. Overall, partial body weight supported treadmill training may improve walking ability, gait speed, and endurance. View the abstract in Pubmed.
Abstract: Cerebral palsy reduces kinesthetic ability
Kinesthesia refers to the ability to sense the location of one's body parts in relationship to one another. A new study indicates that individuals with cerebral palsy experience reduced kinesthetic ability in the legs and arms. View the free full text online in Pubmed.
Abstract: Treating spasticity in cerebral palsy with brain stimulation
Patients with cerebral palsy may experience spastic contractions in their muscles. Electric stimulation of a region of the brain called the cerebellum is an effective therapy for reducing muscle tone. The biggest risk of the procedure is infection of the operation site. View the abstract online at Pubmed.
Abstract: Thyroid defects in the mother or fetus may be a contributing factor to cerebral palsy development.
Low levels of thyroid hormone during development can cause damage to the nervous system. Low levels of dietary iodine, which prevents normal thyroid function, has been observed in countries with higher levels of cerebral palsy. In addition, children that experience brief periods of low thyroid hormone are more likely to be diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Lastly, maternal deficits in thyroid hormone correlate with increased risk of a child having cerebral palsy. Overall, these results suggest that treating thyroid hormone deficits might be a contributing factor in cerebral palsy in some cases. View the abstract online at Pubmed.
Abstract: Inflammation in the developing brain may lead to cerebral palsy
Normally, the brain is separated from the blood by a membrane called the blood-brain barrier. In many neurological disorders, this barrier is compromised, allowing dangerous inflammatory components of the immune system to enter the brain. When this occurs in the developing brain, neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy may result. View the abstract online in Pubmed.
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