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Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of neurological disorders that appear in infancy or early childhood and permanently affect body movement and muscle coordination. Cerebral palsy affects the motor area of the brain’s outer layer (called the cerebral cortex), the part of the brain that directs muscle movement, also affecting the ability to maintain posture and balance.
Those with cerebral palsy exhibit a wide variety of symptoms, including:
A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the average prevalence of cerebral palsy is 3.3 children per 1,000 live births.
Cerebral palsy is caused by abnormal development of part of the brain or by damage to parts of the brain that control movement. This damage can occur before, during, or shortly after birth. A small number of children have acquired cerebral palsy, after birth. Some causes of acquired cerebral palsy include brain damage in the first few months or years of life, brain infections such as bacterial meningitis or viral encephalitis, problems with blood flow to the brain, or head injury from a motor vehicle accident, a fall, or child abuse. In many cases, the cause of cerebral palsy is unknown. Possible causes include genetic abnormalities, congenital brain malformations, maternal infections or fevers, or fetal injury, for example.
The following types of brain damage may cause cerebral palsy:
Cerebral palsy is classified according to the type of movement disorder involved – spastic (stiff muscles), athetoid (writhing movements), or ataxic (poor balance and coordination) – plus any additional symptoms, such weakness (paresis) or paralysis (plegia).
Common Forms of Cerebral Palsy are:
Cerebral palsy can’t be cured, but treatment will often improve the condition.
Treatments for cerebral palsy include:
Cerebral palsy is non-progressive, meaning the brain damage does not worsen. Intellectual level among those with cerebral palsy varies from genius to intellectually impaired, as it does in the general population. The ability to live independently varies widely, depending on the severity of each person's impairment. Life expectancy, depending on the severity of their condition and the quality of care with which they are provided, may vary, as well. However, many with cerebral palsy live full, engaged lives.
Arthrogryposis treatment includes occupational therapy, physical therapy, splinting, and surgery. The goals of these treatments are increasing joint mobility, muscle strength, and the development of adaptive use patterns that allow for walking and independence with activities of daily living. Since arthrogryposis includes many different types, the treatment varies between patients depending on the symptoms. Surgical techniques may also be used.
Many with more severe forms of cerebral palsy require the use of a power wheelchair. Quantum Rehab®, a global leader in advanced power chairs, specializes in adapted power chairs for those with cerebral palsy.
Quantum’s power chair technology for cerebral palsy addresses aspects like power seating for repositioning and pressure relief; customized seating surfaces adapted to unique posture; and special drive controls for those with limited coordination, allowing power chair operation with virtually any part of the body.
For more information on Quantum Rehab’s cerebral palsy related power chair technology, please click here.