health care  
All about cerebral palsy types of cerebral palsy spastic cerebral palsy ataxic cerebral palsy athetoid (dyskinetic) cerebral palsy mixed cerebral palsy causes of cerebral palsy risk factors for cerebral palsy cerebral palsy and children's development diagnosis of cerebral palsy cerebral palsy treatments treatments for conditions associated with cerebral palsy cerebral palsy education programs for kids cerebral palsy lawyer/attorney

What're the risk factors for cerebral palsy?

Infants at the highest risk for developing cerebral palsy exhibit one or more of these factors: premature; low birth weight; do not cry within 5 minutes of delivery; sustained on a ventilator more than 4 weeks; brain hemorrhage. Physical trauma to the pregnant mother or infant may cause brain damage. Blows to the infant's head, as from a motor vehicle accident,

violent shaking, or other physical abuse can damage the infant's brain. Maternal malnutrition may cause brain damage, as can the use of drugs, including cocaine or alcohol. Although these factors may cause CP, they may be more likely to cause mental retardation or other impairments.

Incompatibility between the Rh blood types of mother and child was once a major cause of athetoid CP, one type of movement impairment seen in cerebral palsy. In some cases, this incompatibility can cause the mother's defense (immune) system to attack and destroy the child's blood cells during the pregnancy, a condition called erythroblastosis fetalis. High levels in the child's circulation of a blood cell breakdown product called bilirubin can result, leading to yellowish pigmentation of the skin caused by bile (jaundice) and causing brain damage. This condition is now rare because of testing procedures that identify potential Rh incompatibility, and treatment procedures that prevent the mother's immune system from attacking the child's blood cells. Jaundice that does occur can be treated with special lights that help the breakdown of bilirubin. Blood transfusions for the child are also possible in extreme cases. Despite the virtual elimination of this cause of CP in the last few decades, CP rates have not declined, largely because of the increase of survival of premature babies.

Prematurity is one of the most significant risk factors for CP. About 7% of babies weighing less than 3 lbs at birth develop CP, and the risk increases dramatically as weight falls. Prematurity may increase the risk of CP because of the increased likelihood of hemorrhaging in the brain associated with low birth weight. Brain hemorrhage is most common in babies born weighing less that 4 lbs, and the risk increases as weight decreases. The hemorrhage may destroy brain tissue, either through asphyxia or release of toxic breakdown products.

In conclusion, risk factors linked with cerebral palsy include the following:

  • Infection, seizure disorder, thyroid disorder, and/or other medical problems in the mother
  • Birth defects, especially those affecting the brain, spinal cord, head, face, lungs, or metabolism
  • Rh factor incompatibility, a difference in the blood between mother and fetus that can cause brain damage in the fetus (Fortunately, this is almost always detected and treated in women who receive proper prenatal medical care.)
  • Certain hereditary and genetic conditions
  • Complications in pregnant mother(vaginal bleeding after 6th month, proteinuria, hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure, Rh incompatibility, mental retardation, seizures)
  • Low Apgar score Infant heart rate, breathing, muscle tone, reflexes, and skin color are each scored as 0 (low), 1 (intermediate), or 2 (normal) after delivery. A total score of 7-10 at 5 minutes is considered normal; 4-6, intermediate; and 0-3, low. Scores that remain low 10-20 minutes after delivery indicate increased risk for CP.
  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight (especially if less than 2 pounds at birth)
  • Severe jaundice after birth
  • Multiple births (twins, triplets)
  • Lack of oxygen (hypoxia) reaching the brain before, during, or after birth
  • Brain damage early in life, due to infection (such as meningitis), head injury, lack of oxygen, or bleeding

More information on cerebral palsy

What is cerebral palsy? - Cerebral palsy or CP is bilateral, symmetrical, nonprogressive paralysis resulting from developmental defects in brain or trauma at birth.
What're the types of cerebral palsy? - Cerebral palsy includes a variety of conditions. There are four main types of cerebral palsy - spastic, athetoid, ataxic, and mixed.
What's spastic cerebral palsy? - Spastic cerebral palsy is an abnormality of muscle tone in which one or more extremities (arm or leg) is held in a rigid posture.
What's ataxic cerebral palsy? - Children with ataxic cerebral palsy have difficulty making rapid or fine movements and walk unsteadily, with their legs widely spaced.
What's athetoid or dyskinetic cerebral palsy? - Athetoid or dyskinetic cerebral palsy is a mixture of muscle tone which is too tight or loose.
What's mixed cerebral palsy? - Mixed forms of cerebral palsy exist in that it is common for patients to have more than one form of cerebral palsy.
What causes cerebral palsy? - Cerebral palsy is a functional disorder caused by damage to the brain during pregnancy, delivery, or shortly after birth.
What're the risk factors for cerebral palsy? - Risk factors linked with cerebral palsy include infection, seizure disorder, thyroid disorder, birth defects, Rh factor incompatibility.
Influence of cerebral palsy on children's development? - Children with cerebral palsy have varying degrees of physical disability and may also have associated medical problems.
How is cerebral palsy diagnosed? - Cerebral palsy is difficult to diagnose during early infancy. Evidence of other risk factors may aid the diagnosis.
What's the treatment for cerebral palsy? - Comprehensive treatment of cerebral palsy requires a multidisciplinary team approach to help maximize and coordinate movement, minimize discomfort and pain.
Treatments for conditions associated with cerebral palsy? - Spasticity, muscle coordination, ataxia, and scoliosis are all significant impairments that affect the posture and mobility of a person with cerebral palsy.
Education programs for children with cerebral palsy - Children with cerebral palsy grow normally and attend regular schools if they do not have severe intellectual and physical disabilities.
Is a cerebral palsy lawyer/attorney necessary? - A experienced cerebral palsy lawyer or attoney may provide you some good advices in determining a course of action nd the best solution for the cerebral palsy treatment program.
Neurological disorders Mainpage

Topics in neurological disorders

Autoimmune nervous system diseases
Autonomic nervous system diseases
Degenerative nervous system diseases
Central nervous system diseases
Brain diseases
Cranial nerve disorders
Language disorders
Perceptual disorders
Motor neuron diseases
Neurologic manifestations
Movement disorders
Peripheral nerve disorders
Sleep disorders
Spinal cord diseases

Featured neurological articles

Multiple sclerosis
Cerebral palsy
Migraine headache
Cluster headache
Alzheimer's disease
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Parkinson's disease
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Peripheral neuropathy
Diabetic neuropathy
Lower back pain
Sleep apnea
Brain tumor
Brain cancer
Spinal cord tumors

Nutrition for neurological disorders

MindSoothe for emotional health
MindSoothe, a natural herbal remedy, contains a selection of herbs known for their calming and supportive function in maintaining brain and nervous system health, emotional balance and overall wellbeing.

Neuro Natural Memory
Specifically formulated to help support brain health, Neuro-Natural Memory may help improve memory, concentration levels and reduce the potential for brain and memory function problems.

Triple Complex Sleep Tonic
Sleep Tonic helps the body relax and produce all the hormones essential for healthy sleep; safe for everyone, including pregnant and nursing women, children, and small babies.

All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005