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WHAT IS CEREBRAL PALSY

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       What is the definition of cerebral palsy? Cerebral palsy is a term used to describe a group of chronic conditions affecting body movements and muscle coordination. It is caused by damage to one or more specific areas of the brain, usually occurring during fetal development or infancy. It also can occur before, during or shortly following birth.


"Cerebral" refers to the brain and "Palsy" to a disorder of movement or posture.  If someone has cerebral palsy it means that because of an injury to their brain (cerebral) they are not able to use some of the muscles in their body in the normal way (palsy). Children with cerebral palsy may not be able to walk, talk, eat or play in the same ways as most other children.


Cerebral palsy is neither progressive nor communicable. It is also not "curable" in the accepted sense, although education, therapy and applied technology can help persons with cerebral palsy lead productive lives. It is important to know that cerebral palsy is not a disease or illness. It isn't contagious and it doesn't get worse. Children who have cerebral palsy will have it all their lives.
                                                                                                                  


What Causes Cerebral Palsy?

Congenital cerebral palsy results from brain injury during a baby's development in the womb. It is present at birth, although it may not be detected for months. It is responsible for about 70% of children who have cerebral palsy. An additional 20% are diagnosed with congenital cerebral palsy due to a brain injury during the birthing process. In most cases, the cause of congenital cerebral palsy is unknown. Some other causes are

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Infections during pregnancy
 that may damage a fetus' developing nervous system. These include rubella (German measles), cytomegalovirus (a herpes-type virus), and toxoplasmosis (an infection caused by a parasite that can be carried in cat feces or inadequately cooked meat). Other infections in pregnant women that may go undetected are being recognized now as an important cause of developmental brain damage of the fetus.  














Severe jaundice in the infant. 
Jaundice is caused by excessive bilirubin in the blood. Normally, bilirubin is filtered out by the liver. But often, newborns' livers need a few days to start doing this effectively, so it's not uncommon for infants to have jaundice for a few days after birth. In most cases, phototherapy (light therapy) clears up jaundice, and there are no lasting health effects. However, in rare cases, severe, untreated jaundice can damage brain cells.  
Rh incompatibility between mother and infant.
 In this blood condition, the mother's body produces antibodies that destroy the fetus's blood cells. This, in turn, leads to a form of jaundice in the newborn and may cause brain damage.  
The physical and metabolic trauma of being born. This can precipitate brain damage in a fetus whose health has been threatened during developmen







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If any readers are interested in more information about Cerebral palsy, check out the Cerebral Palsy Family Network! It's full of advice, resources, and information for all things related to life with CP. Hope you find it helpful!

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