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Cerebral Palsy Attorney
In developed countries, cerebral palsy occurs in 2-3 of every 1,000 live births. In the United States alone, approximately 12,000 infants and young children will be diagnosed with cerebral palsy each year. Cerebral palsy is the second most expensive developmental disability to care for. Over an average lifetime, it will cost nearly $100,000.
What is cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a general term describing a number of non-progressive, non-contagious neurological conditions that can cause physical and mental disability.Cerebral is the area of the brain that is affected and palsy is a disorder of movement. Cerebral palsy is generally diagnosed in infants and young children. Although cerebral palsy causes physical disability, the problem lies not in the muscles and nerves themselves, but rather in the parts of the brain that control them.
How is cerebral palsy classified?
Each case of cerebral palsy is classified into one of three major groups. These groups indicate the various impairments in movement as well as the area of the brain that is damaged.
Spastic: Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type of cerebral palsy. Nearly 80% of all cases are considered spastic. People with spastic cerebral palsy are hypertonic, which means that their muscles are abnormally stiff and unable to stretch. Spastic cerebral palsy cases can affect all of the body or just one side.
Athetoid/Dyskinetic: Cerebral palsy is classified as athetoid (also known as dyskinetic) when there is mixed muscle tone. This is defined as some muscles being hypertonic (abnormally high amounts of tension in the muscles) and some muscles being hypotonic (abnormally low amounts of tension in the muscles). Athetoid cerebral palsy occurs in approximately 25% of all people with this condition. People with athetoid cerebral palsy have difficultly sitting or walking and often move involuntarily. They also have trouble holding onto objects. For many with athetoid cerebral palsy, it is very difficult to move their hand to a certain location, such as when reaching for an object.
Ataxic: Cerebral palsy is considered ataxic when the damage in the brain is located in the cerebellum. This causes the person to have problems with balance and difficulty walking. Ataxic cerebral palsy is the rarest type of the condition. People with ataxic cerebral palsy often have less developed motor skills, as well.
What are the symptoms of cerebral palsy?
- Abnormal muscle tone
- Poor posture
- Poor reflexes
- Abnormal motor development
- Poor coordination
- Joint deformities
- Bone deformities
- Muscles or joints that are permanently tight, fixed
- Involuntary movements
- Unsteady gait
- Decreased muscle mass
- Problems with balance
What are the causes of cerebral palsy?
The exact causes of most cases of cerebral palsy are generally unknown.
Known causes include:
- Hypoxia of the brain
- Birth trauma
- Premature birth
- Severe jaundice
- Lead poisoning
- Shaken baby syndrome
Cerebral palsy is caused by injury to the motor control centers of the brain. Most of the time this damage occurs during the pregnancy of the baby. Less cases occur after birth and very few occur during childbirth.
How do you treat cerebral palsy?
Currently, there is no known cure for cerebral palsy. Medical attention can help people that have cerebral palsy lead improved lives. Treatment may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, drugs (to control seizures, alleviate pain, relax muscle spasms), the use of Botox (to relax contracting muscles), surgery (to alleviate tight muscles or correct abnormalities in bone structures), braces, wheelchairs, walkers, and/or communication aids. These treatments do not actually help cure the condition, but rather can alleviate its symptoms.