Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy

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We just don’t cure, we care

For parents of children diagnosed with cerebral palsy all the world seems to come falling down. Often they lose hope and start to think of it as a never-ending ordeal. We at Meditourz firmly believe we all deserve to live ‘Happily Forever After’. Stem Cell Therapy is a revolutionary technique that can give those with cerebral palsy a chance to live independently and confidently. So let your worries make way for endless possibilities.

Cerebral palsy is a group of movement disorders that are permanent in nature and affect body movement and muscle coordination. It can generally be described as impairment of the affected individual’s ability to control his muscles. This not only means impaired movement but also uncontrollable muscle contractions forcing the affected limbs into painful positions. Sometimes muscles contract too much, sometimes too little and at other times, all the muscles contract at the same time. It is also characterized by the shaking or trembling of the affected limbs.

Worldwide cerebral palsy is found to occur in 1.5 to 4 per 1000 live births. Cerebral palsy can occur before, during, after birth or during early childhood.

There are three main types of cerebral palsy: Spastic, Dyskinetic or Athetoid or Dystonic and Ataxic cerebral palsy. The categorization is based on the kind of effect on the body and muscle tone which in turn is a result of the specific region of brain affected. Often, more than one kind of cerebral palsy affects a person simultaneously.

Cerebral Palsy is caused by a malformed brain or injury to the brain specifically the areas that control movement, balance and posture. The malformation or injury usually takes place during pregnancy or childbirth but there may be cases of individuals getting affected by the condition after birth as well. A tough delivery or a head injury suffered by the child in the initial years may also become factors affecting its occurrence. A very small percentage of the individuals affected by cerebral palsy are known to have inherited the condition. Other risk factors include infection, medical malpractices and negligence.

Cerebral Palsy affects infants due to following reasons:

  • Reduced oxygen supply to the brain during the birth of the child due to the umbilical cord being wound around the child’s neck
  • Infection or injury during pregnancy
  • Premature birth
  • Critical illness at birth (neonatal encephalopathy) that also reduces supply of oxygen to the brain
  • Development of the brain in an unusual shape or structure
  • Genetic mutations in brain cells

Cerebral palsy affects every individual differently. There is variation in the type of dysfunction, the number and location of limbs affected etc. There may be distorted balance and posture. Poor limb coordination makes daily tasks like sitting, standing up, dressing up etc difficult. Almost a third of those affected by cerebral palsy also suffer from seizures. There may be other issues such as impaired vision and hearing or intellectual disability.

The damage to the brain in case of cerebral palsy is usually beyond repair and the disabilities associated with the damage are permanent. The symptoms associated with cerebral palsy are:

  • Lack of muscle coordination when performing voluntary movements (ataxia)
  • Stiff or tight muscles and exaggerated reflexes (spasticity)
  • Weakness in at least one limb
  • Walking on toes, a crouched gait, or a “scissor" gait
  • Variations in muscle tone. They either be too stiff or floppy.
  • Difficulties swallowing, speaking accompanied by excessive drooling.
  • Shaking (tremor) or random involuntary movements
  • Delay in reaching motor skill milestones
  • Difficulty with activities involving precision like writing

There may be instances where cerebral palsy is accompanied by intellectual disability, stunted development, impaired vision and hearing loss.

With proper disability management, many children go on to enjoy reasonably good adult lives. So beginning treatment at the earliest possible gives a much better chance to manage disabilities.

Those affected by cerebral palsy may need supportive treatment, medication and surgery. Supportive treatment includes physiotherapy, occupational therapy to assist with day to day living, and speech therapy. Surgery may be used to lengthen muscles and snapping overactive nerves. Using physical aid may also prove to be helpful. Medication can help reduce uncontrollable shaking and trembling in the affected person.

Cerebral Palsy can be prevented by immunizing the mother and taking very good care of the child during birth to prevent head injuries

Oral medication such as diazepam, baclofen, dantrolene sodium, and tizanidine can be administered to to relax stiff, contracted or overactive muscles.

Orthopedic surgery, assisted devices and additional therapies can be used to reduce spasticity.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a recent advance that helps restore the oxygen level in the brain, especially in the damaged areas. Botulinum toxin A can also be used to manage spasticity in children with cerebral palsy.

Dr. Alok Sharma

Consultant Neurosurgeon

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