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Cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is a non-progressive, non-contagious disorder of body movement, muscle tone or posture that causes physical disability. Cerebral palsy causes impaired movement: exaggerated reflexes, floppiness, rigid limbs, abnormal posture, involuntary movements, difficulty swallowing, eye and muscle imbalance, reduced range of motion, and unsteady walking. The range of severity of impairment is great: some people can walk and have normal intellectual function, while others are unable to walk and have intellectual disabilities. Epilepsy is present in one-third of cerebral palsy cases. It is a general consensus in the scientific world that cerebral palsy is not a genetic condition. Signs and symptoms usually appear in early childhood.

Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the motor control center of a developing brain, either during pregnancy or up to the age of three. Some cases have no identifiable cause, while others are attributed to problems in intrauterine development, asphyxia before birth, hypoxia of the brain, birth trauma, complications during the perinatal period, toxins, physical brain injury, near drowning, meningitis, choking, and poisoning. Between forty and fifty percent of children with cerebral palsy were born prematurely, attributable to them not having fully developed organs. Improvements in the care of newborns have reduced the number of children who develop cerebral palsy. There is no cure for cerebral palsy.

Treatment for cerebral palsy is a lifelong process in preventing the brain damage from stopping healthy development. The manifestation of brain damage will change as the body and brain develop, but the actual damage will not increase. There are various treatments for children and people with cerebral palsy: physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, water therapy, and medications to control seizures, relax muscles spasms, and alleviate pain. The earlier treatment begins, the more likely the child will overcome development disabilities. The earliest intervention can occur in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Categories: Cerebral palsy

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