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Characteristics and Causes of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a group of neurological disorders. Cerebral means related to the cerebrum, the dominant part of the brain that controls muscle movement, memory, the ability to learn, and communication skills. Palsy means partial or complete muscle paralysis.

And, According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is the most common childhood motor disability in the United States.

There are various types of cerebral palsy with different characteristics. Some of the issues people suffering from cerebral palsy face include: loss of muscle control, poor motor skills, posture problems, speech issues, and, in some cases, mental retardation.

Symptoms of cerebral palsy typically show up during the first three years of life. Symptoms include: delayed achievement of developmental milestones like crawling, speaking and walking; abnormal muscle tone/slouching while sitting; stiff muscles that contract abnormally; difficulty feeding; easily startled; and poor coordination and balance.

Children and adults with cerebral palsy require a great deal of care and often receive treatment from a multitude of practitioners such as physical therapists, speech and occupational therapists, social workers, and special education advisors in addition to their regular doctors.

There are many different causes of cerebral palsy, a few of which include medical negligence. Some cases of cerebral palsy occur because the baby is deprived of oxygen during birth. It is crucial that both the mother and child are monitored properly to detect signs of distress during labor and delivery, and a doctor must act quickly if there are problems in order to prevent damage from occurring.

An unborn baby having a stroke can also cause cerebral palsy. Causes of strokes in unborn babies include untreated pre-eclampsia, a condition in the mother characterized by high blood pressure, and a prolonged second stage of labor, both of which are medical malpractice issues as well.

Source: Medical News Today, What is Cerebral Palsy? What Causes Cerebral Palsy? June 5, 2009

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