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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Children's Health Cerebral palsy in children

Cerebral palsy in children

It is the group of disorders that affects muscle tone, movement and motor skills. It is the commonest congenital disorder of the childhood.

It is caused by brain damage that occurs before the child birth, during child birth or during the first few years of child’s life. There is no cure for cerebral palsy.

Symptoms of cerebral palsy:

  • Lack of muscle coordination when performing voluntary movements (ataxia).
  • Muscle stiffness and exaggerated reflexes (spasticity).
  • Asymmetrical walking gait, with one foot or leg dragging.
  • Excessive drooling or difficulties swallowing, sucking or speaking.
  • Tremors.
  • Difficulty in precise motions like writing, sucking or speaking.
  • Mental retardation or seizures can also occur in child with cerebral palsy.

Types of cerebral palsy:

  • Spastic cerebral palsy: Causes stiffness and movement difficulties.
  • Athetoid cerebral palsy: Leads to involuntary and uncontrolled movements.
  • Ataxic cerebral palsy: It causes a disturbed sense of balance and perception.

Causes of cerebral palsy:

  • Maternal infections like German measles, chicken pox, toxoplasmosis, syphilis.
  • Infant illness like meningitis (inflammation of the membrane that surround the brain and spinal cord)
  • Viral encephalitis.
  • Congenital abnormalities.
  • Lack of oxygen during birth.
  • Severe jaundice in new born.

Risk factors for cerebral palsy:

  • Premature birth.
  • Low birth weight.
  • Breech births.
  • Multiple babies.
  • Toxic substances like exposure of mercury during pregnancy of the mother of the child.
  • Mother’s health: Women who have thyroid problems, mental retardation or seizures are having high risk of having a baby with cerebral palsy.

Complications of cerebral palsy:

  • Contractures.
  • Malnutrition.
  • Difficulty with vision, hearing or speech.
  • Mental retardation.
  • Seizures.
  • Abnormal sensation or perception.
  • Urinary incontinence.

Tests and diagnosis:

  • Cranial ultrasound.
  • CT scan.
  • MRI scan.
  • Electroencephalogram.

Treatments and drugs:

There is no cure for cerebral palsy

  • Medications like muscle relaxants like diazepam, baclofen, dantrolene can be used.
  • Botox injections for muscle spasms.
  • Physical therapy.
  • Speech therapy.

Prevention of cerebral palsy:

Immunization: Immunization against diseases such as rubella may prevent that could cause fetal brain damage.

Controlling diabetes, anemia, hypertension and nutritional deficiencies during pregnancy help to prevent preterm births and development of cerebral palsy.