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What Is Cerebral Palsy?

Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju
Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju

Cerebral palsy is a complex of various disorders of the nervous and muscular systems that occur in children. The most common causes of occurrence are:

  • fetal hypoxia
  • trauma
  • received by the infant at the time of birth
  • alcohol abuse during pregnancy.

Cerebral palsy progresses as a result of pathological changes in the structures of the brain or nervous system. As a result, children have problems with coordination, balance, and posture. The degree of their severity can be different. The child may need constant assistance with the most severe damage. In milder forms, a person can move around using special means or completely independently. In addition to movement disorders, many children also have problems with vision, hearing, speech, recurrent convulsions, multiple sclerosis, and mental retardation.

According to statistics, this particular disease is one of the most common causes of childhood disability in the world. Statistics show that the disease is found in 2-3 children per 1000 newborns. Among premature babies, the number increases to 40-100 cases per 1000 newborns.

It is essential to understand what can cause it to appear and who is at risk.

Reasons for cerebral palsy. The reasons for having a baby with motor neurone disease are very different. Most often, a combination of several factors leads to the appearance of an ailment. Most of them affect the baby while still in the womb in about 70-90% of all cases. The percentage of cerebral palsy during childbirth is much lower, at about 5-10%, which is contrary to common prejudice.

To date, doctors have identified the following threats:

  • Infectious diseases of the mother during gestation. Among the dangerous infections are rubella, flu, toxoplasmosis, herpes, etc. These infections are extremely dangerous in that they can negatively affect the development of the fetus’s vital organs. Their main danger lies in the fact that severe symptoms do not always accompany infection, and the mother may not notice them and, as a result, leave them and the fetus untreated. 
  • Mutations at the genetic level.
  • Hypoxia. It occurs due to a lack of oxygen in the tissues and blood. Hypoxia during childbirth or immediately after childbirth leads to serious damage to internal organs, primarily the brain. Intrauterine hypoxia is no less dangerous, especially in conjunction with pathologies of the placenta.
  • Prematurity. Children born prematurely have thin blood vessels in the brain. Because of this, bleeding may occur, which leads to the malfunctioning of the organ. Also, premature infants may have an increased level of bilirubin, which can result in encephalopathy, leading to dystrophic changes in the brain structures.
  • Developmental defects. Anomalies of the brain structures lead to impairment of various, including motor and motor functions.

Such common signs of cerebral palsy in the fetus during pregnancy, such as hypoxia and pathology of the placenta, cannot serve as a basis for a prenatal diagnosis, that is, before childbirth. It is impossible to identify an ailment during gestation. However, it is possible to determine the factors that can lead to its appearance and carry out timely treatment of the detected diseases in the future.

It can be incredibly difficult, and sometimes almost impossible, to determine the exact cause of the occurrence of violations. Often a combination of several factors leads to this.

Cerebral palsy symptoms

Symptoms are broad and range from subtle to very severe symptoms. Children with cerebral palsy can be ill with it in various forms. Symptoms differ depending on the type:

  • Spastic cerebral diplegia is detected in more than 40% of cases. Spastic cerebral symptoms generally occur in 75% of children with cerebral palsy. Previously, this form had a separate name- Little’s disease. It is characterized by inelasticity and rigidity of the muscles of the arms and legs, a zigzag gait. With a mild degree of illness, discoordination is manifested only with a specific type of activity, for example, running. With a serious degree of damage, mental underdevelopment, seizures, and difficulty swallowing are observed.
  • Double hemiplegia is the most severe form. Children with double hemiplegia cannot support their heads on their own and stand, sit, and move.
  • The hemiparetic form with a unilateral lesion progresses hemiparesis, weakening the motor functions of the arms and/or legs only on the right or left side.
  • The hyperkinetic form is often found in combination with spastic diplegia. It is characterized by the manifestation of hyperkinesis of involuntary movements of the limbs.
  • Atonic-astatic form in children, coordination of movements, a sense of balance are impaired, and muscle tone is also absent.

Risk factors for developing cerebral palsy during pregnancy. Doctors diagnose cerebral palsy after childbirth. They observe the baby’s growth, checking for problems with standing up and walking for a long time or with hand motility or a delay in mental development. However, knowing the main risk factors, you can understand the likelihood of an ailment during pregnancy.

These factors include:

  • different blood type or its Rh factor in mother and baby- a dangerous factor that requires careful medical supervision
  • multiple pregnancies
  • detachment of the placenta, premature birth, rupture of the uterus, etc.
  • breech presentation
  • birth injuries caused by improper use of forceps or a vacuum extractor
  • diabetes mellitus, obesity, epilepsy, hypertension, maternal anemia
  • alcohol consumption and smoking during pregnancy, bad habits can cause fetal hypoxia, which, in turn, leads to the development of disorders in the brain structures of the child
  • social, environmental, economic factors, the quality of medical services provided can also affect the unborn baby’s health.

Diagnostics and treatment of cerebral palsy

Diagnostics and treatment of cerebral palsy

Unfortunately, you will not be able to pass any single cerebral palsy test in the hospital that can confirm or deny the diagnosis right away. Diagnosis, in this case, is a complex and lengthy process, especially when the symptoms are mild. In some situations, the final diagnosis can be established only by 3-5 years of a child’s life, after several years of constant monitoring of their development.

The sooner cerebral palsy is detected, the more effective the treatment will be. Therefore, the primary diagnosis of children at risk is carried out in the delivery room. The most obvious signs of cerebral palsy in a newborn are:

  • difficulty sucking, swallowing
  • muscle weakness
  • stiffness of movement
  • constant sleepiness
  • frequent vomiting and regurgitation.

We should understand that some children in the first six months of life have increased excitability and even a slight tremor of the limbs, more often than the pens, which is an absolutely normal feature of a particular baby. Therefore, it is essential to trust a competent pediatrician who can distinguish physiological features from the first manifestations of pathology.

Cerebral palsy treatment. Parents should understand that a complete cure for this disease is impossible. But regular comprehensive rehabilitation measures can significantly improve the quality of life of a child. The sooner they begin treatment, the higher the likelihood that a person can lead a normal life in the future. Children’s brains develop and change very actively, so early rehabilitation is the most effective treatment method.

It includes the following procedures aimed at restoring functions affected by the progression of the disease:

  • massage to maintain normal muscle tone
  • regular therapeutic exercises and training on special simulators allow the young patient to learn how to keep balance and walk
  • physiotherapy, electro reflexotherapy are successfully used to improve coordination, diction, and speech function.

A doctor may prescribe drug therapy to improve the functioning of the brain to treat seizures. Some patients may require surgery. Surgeons cut or lengthen the tendons of those muscles that restrict movement.

If you suspect your child has cerebral palsy or already has a confirmed diagnosis but do not know how to organize the correct rehabilitation, contact the clinic and professional doctors.

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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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