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Cerebral Palsy

What is cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a brain disorder that happens in infancy or early childhood. Cerebral palsy is non contagious (does not spread to other people) and non progressive (does not worsen over time).

What are the different types of cerebral palsy?

The traditional classification of cerebral palsy is according to the type of muscle impairment and the number of limbs involved.

Classification according to muscle impairment:

(1) Spastic

  • most common type of cerebral palsy
  • reduced ability to stretch muscle
  • usually due to damaged motor cortex of the brain

(2) Ataxic

  • presented as increase tremors and/or low muscle tone
  • caused by damage to cerebellum, hind brain that controls coordination

(3) Athetoid

  • presented with mixed muscle tone
  • caused by damage to the corpus striatum

Classification according to number of limbs involved:

(1) Monoplegia: only 1 limb involved

(2) Hemiplegia: one entire side of body affected

(3) Triplegia: 3 limbs involved

(4) Diplegia: predominantly lower limbs involved

(5) Quadriplegia: all 4 limbs involved

Hence, for instance, if a child has increase muscle tone in all 4 limbs, he/she will be classified as a spastic quadriplegia.

 

What causes cerebral palsy?

There are numerous risk factors that are related to cerebral palsy. Below is a summary some of the risk factors:

  • Low birth weight
  • Preterm
  • Postterm
  • Asphyxia during delivery (lack of oxygen)
  • congential malformation
  • congential or perinatal infection
  • Intrauterine growth retardation
  • Viral Infection (TORCH – Toxoplasmosis, Rubella, Cytomegalovirus and Herpes simplex virus)
  • Multiple pregnancies
  • Injury to the brain in first year of life
    • cerebral infection
    • acquired brain injury
    • infantile spasm
Disclaimer: The information and advice contained in or made available through this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the services of a health professional/physiotherapist or to be a substitute for medical advice of physicians.
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