Cerebral Palsy Information

What is Cerebral palsy?

Infantile Cerebral palsy is not a single but a broad term describing a set of maladies which are seen in early life of an individual, during early childhood to be more precise. This renders a child incapable of normal bodily and muscular movements. It is seen that mostly children are born with this condition which does not progress much with age. Mostly suffering infants are not detected with this condition until they reach the age of three as the first signs are observed prior to reaching the third year only. Although it is a malfunction of the muscular movements, but it is not a problem pertaining to them. Actually it caused due to anomalies in a parts of brain that controls the movements of the muscles.

The most common symptoms of infantile cerebral palsy are;

  • Ataxia: absence of muscle synchronization during voluntary movements.
  • Spasticity: exaggerated reflex responses with muscle stiffening.
  • Tendency to walk only with one foot, dragging along the other.
  • A couched gait with floppy muscle tone.
  • Swallowing becomes difficult
  • Speech is incoherent

Types of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) has been classified majorly into four categories depicting the various muscular impairments. These types of cerebral palsy also reflect those parts of the brain which are malfunctioning.

Spastic Cerebral palsy

Most common type of CP found in 80% of the cases. It is even found along with other types in some 30% of the cases as well. Spastic CP patients have a damaged motor cortex thus rendering them hypertonic, which is increased resistance to stretch. Basically the cerebral cortex or the outer layer of the brain is damaged.  This in turn affects the ability of the nervous system to receive gamma amino butyric acid in those damaged portions of the brain.

Spastic cerebral palsy is classified further as;

Spastic hemiplegia (Hemiplegic cerebral palsy)

Muscular nerves controlled by the left side of the brain are injured leading to a deficit in the right side of the body and vice-versa. On the affected side, the arms are stiffer than the legs and are shorter as well as thinner. A hemiplegic cerebral palsy child has normal intelligence but his/her speech will be delayed.

Spastic diplegia (Diplegic cerebral palsy)

The muscles of the hip and legs are tight and stiff. Less severity is seen in arms and face as compared to the Lower portion of the body. Difficulty in walking is faced as the legs are crossed at the knees giving a scissors like gait or movement. In diplegic cerebral palsy there is no effect on the intelligence of the child but they are myopic.

Spastic quadriplegia

the most severe of the three types of spastic CP, renders a child mentally retarded who is unable to walk due to increased stiffness of the muscles. Seizures and shaking of the limbs is experienced by the sufferer.

Ataxic Cerebral palsy

This is the least diagnosed CP, affecting only 10% of children and is present as the cerebellum is damaged affecting the motor skills like buttoning the shirt, using the scissors, writing and typing. The child will walk with his/her legs apart as far as possible and will suffer from tremors.

Athetoid  or  Dyskinetic Cerebral palsy

The sufferer will have difficulty in holding themselves in a standing position when sitting or while walking. The muscle will be weak and will bear a mixed tone. Facial muscles will be difficult to control and a tendency to drool will be present.

Hypotonic Cerebral Palsy

Movement is highly restricted; child will appear limp with a floppy head. The motor skills are delayed since early life.

Cerebral Palsy Pictures

Picture 1 : Cerebral palsy types

Image source : livingwithcerebralpalsy.com

Picture 2 : Spastic cerebral palsy types

Image source : prehealthfig2008.wikispaces.com

Picture 3 : A child having Cerebral palsy (infantile)

Image source : nursingpub.com

Cerebral Palsy Causes

Cerebral palsy is linked to a number of problems that might be present prior to the birth of a baby or after it in early few years or months of the life. Infections like German measles, Cytomegalovirus, viral encephalitis, toxoplasmosis, bacterial meningitis and chickenpox affecting the mother during her pregnancy or the infant in his/her early life are some of the causes of cerebral palsy. In some cases mutations and abnormal gene development during pregnancy does not let the brain develop in the womb. An injury caused due to an accident by falling from a vehicle or by child abuse are potential causes of CP.

Cerebral Palsy Treatment

As such there is no particular treatment of cerebral palsy, but therapies are available which aid in alleviating the disabilities. Physical therapies including physical exercises of stretching are made to be done so as to maximize flexibility and body control. Wheelchairs and walkers are put to use to aid in posturing or walking of the patient while performing the exercises. Occupational and speech therapies are provided to develop the basic skills of dressing, eating, writing and speaking coherently. Spastic cerebral patients who are prone to seizures and tremors are given medicines and muscular injections so as to control their rage of motion, enhance their response to other therapies and delay the requirement of a surgery.

References:

http://www.emedicinehealth.com/cerebral_palsy/page7_em.htm#Medical Treatment

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cerebral-palsy/DS00302/DSECTION=causes

http://www.medicinenet.com/cerebral_palsy/page2.htm

http://www.cerebralpalsy.org/types-of-cerebral-palsy/

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/cerebral_palsy/detail_cerebral_palsy.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerebral_palsy


Published by under Diseases and Conditions.
Article was last reviewed on December 1st, 2015.

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