1. What is cerebral palsy?
It is a permanent disorder of posture and movement resulting from brain damage occurring in the baby or young child.
Cerebral palsy is the name given to a group of conditions that occur before, during, or in the first two years after
birth. These conditions result from damage to the brain. The damage affects the messages being both received by and sent from
the brain, and the way in which the brain interprets the information it receives. Among the functions that cerebral palsy
can affect are movement, sensation, perception, cognition, communication, and eating and drinking. In some children, all of
these functions are affected, but other children may only have one of these problems.
2. What causes it?
Cerebral palsy can be caused by many things, which result in either a bleed in the brain (haemorrhage) or lack of oxygen
to the brain (anoxia). These include: prematurity, infections (such as meningitis), traumatic birth, problems in utero (in
the womb), head injuries (including non-accidental injuries), near-drowning and strokes.
3. Is there a cure?
No, because the damage to the brain is irreparable but therapy can encourage the brain to develop alternative pathways.
While there is no cure, therapy can help children and their families manage the problems that cerebral palsy presents.
This can change the clinical presentation (symptoms) of the condition.
4. Is it progressive?
The damage to the brain doesn't change, but the child may have increasing difficulties as they grow and mature. Limited
movement can result in contractures and deformities.
5.Is cerebral palsy a disease or a genetic disorder?
Cerebral palsy is
neither a disease nor a genetic disorder. Cerebral palsy is a condition with many possible causes, such as birth trauma or
brain injury, but it is not contagious or inherited.
6.I've heard that Cerebral Palsy can be the result of a 'birth injury', but isn't that the
same as a 'birth defect'?
A birth injury is suffered by the infant at the time of birth or soon after birth
when the infant is still in the care of medical professionals. A birth defect, however, occurs during pregnancy and involves
factors outside the care of professionals, such as maternal infections or genetic malformations. Cerebral palsy is often the
result of a birth injury, such as when an infant's brain is damaged by lack of oxygen during birth.
7.Is cerebral palsy is preventable?
A significant number of the cerebral
palsy cases that occur as the result of a birth injury can be prevented. Medical negligence, such as careless handling of
the child's cranium or an undetected oxygen blockage in the child's brain, is a factor in these preventable cases. Also, as
we begin to understand other risk factors, such as blood-type incompatibility, Rubella (contracted during early pregnancy)
and other complications, we will be able to prevent additional cases of cerebral palsy. For more information about whether
your child's cerebral palsy could have been prevented please contact us.
8.Is Cerebral Palsy curable?
Since the disorder is caused by irreversible
brain damage, cerebral palsy has no cure. However, the physical effects of the brain damage can be treated. While impaired
motor skills, speech, and muscle development cannot be "cured," there are an ever-growing number of management options. Early
intervention is often considered the single most important factor in the disorder's treatment. If the signs and symptoms of
cerebral palsy are recognized early, then therapy and special learning can keep the disability under control.
9.What are the risk factors for cerebral palsy?
Years of research has
reveled that babies with certain risk factors are more likely to have cerebral palsy. For a list of these factors, please
visit our risk factors page.
10.What are the early signs of cerebral palsy?
Most children begin to
exhibit symptoms of cerebral palsy before they are three years old. Parents are often the first to suspect that their child
is not developing normally. For a list of early cerebral palsy warning signs, please visit our warning signs page.
10.How is cerebral palsy diagnosed?
Doctors look for a number of different
indicators in order to diagnose cerebral palsy. They will also often prescribe medical tests to help them determine the exact
nature of a child's problem. For more information on how doctors diagnose cerebral palsy, please visit our diagnosis page.