Brain Injury


Causes of Cerebral Palsy


Posted By on Feb 18, 2014

The causes of cerebral palsy (CP) are not actually known for a fact; the exact nature of this neuromuscular disorder still remains a mystery. However, there are speculations that it could be due to a number of internal and external agencies.

Cerebral palsy is primarily characterized by poor motor development and control due to damage to the cerebrum, which is basically most of the brain as it includes the cerebral cortex as well as the occipital and parietal lobes. The source of the damage is as yet unclear, but as CP it manifests as spastic (70% of all cases), ataxic, athetoid, or mixed. In its mildest forms, CP patients are able to live an approximately normal life with a combination of medication and physical therapy. The most serious cases are unable to care for themselves, and require constant supervision and assistance, often accompanied by comorbid conditions such as learning disabilities.

One of the most popular beliefs is that CP is caused by the improper nutrition of the mother during pregnancy; alternatively, lead exposure has been pointed out as the culprit. Approximately 2 out of 1,000 babies born alive are diagnosed with CP within a year of birth, and barring any other apparent cause; some believe that it may be due to a physical injury sustained before, during, or after actual childbirth.  It is believed that the birth injury may have been due to oxygen deprivation to the brain (hypoxia) because of prolonged labor, or the improper use of a birth assisting tool such as forceps or vacuum extractor which caused brain damage.

In most cases, the onset of CP manifests in the very early stages of development, up to one year after birth, although it may manifest in early childhood. It may also be contracted after birth as a result of some trauma or infection which adversely affected what otherwise would have been a normal brain. Very occasionally, an adult may develop CP under similar circumstances, such as sustaining brain injury in a car accident or as a result of radiation exposure. In a significant number of these cases, the cause can be traced to the actions or inaction of a negligent third party. In such cases, the afflicted party or a family member should consult with a personal injury attorney for advice on the possibility of financial compensation.

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