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Cerebral Palsy (CP), Spina Bifida

Cerebral palsy

What does cerebral palsy (SP) mean?

Cerebral palsy (SP) is a neurological disorder that occurs in infancy or early childhood and permanently affects body movement, muscle coordination and balance. SP affects the part of the brain that controls muscle movements. The great majority of children with cerebral palsy are born with it, but the disease can not be detected until after months or years. Early signs of cerebral palsy usually occur before a child reaches 3 years of age. Most common statements:

    Lack of muscle coordination in voluntary movements (ataxia)
    Tough or tight muscles and exaggerated reflexes (spasticity)
    Walking with a foot or a leg
    Walking on toes
    Very hard or very soft muscle tone

The neurological manifestations common in children with SP are:

    Hearing loss,
    vision problems  
    Bladder and bowel control problems,
    They are painful and abnormal sensations.

Causes such as brain infections, meningitis or viral encephalitis and brain infections, motor vehicle accidents, falling or child abuse and brain damage at a few months or the first three years may cause SP. The disorder is not progressive, so brain damage typically does not worsen over time. SP is not hereditary.


What is cerebral palsy and motor control?


The brain controls any motor function that allows people to live as independent as possible. Motor control is a control system that is necessary to extend the hand of the person. When the engine control centers in your brain are damaged, voluntary and involuntary engine skills will not work properly. This abnormality limits the control and coordination of movement in children with cerebral palsy.
The most common mistakes about cerebral palsy are:

    Children with SP can not hear or understand. Sometimes brain damage that is caused by cerebral palsy can affect hearing and language. However, disorders in speech do not mean that they can not hear or understand.
    Children with SP are limited to wheelchairs. Some children with cerebral palsy need wheelchair support, but most can walk independently or with an armchair.
    SP worsens gradually. Although cerebral palsy affects normal development of the brain before birth or shortly after birth, this brain damage does not worsen. Proper care and treatment can improve mobility over time.
    Children with SP have intelligence problems. Cerebral stroke can cause brain damage in some children, resulting in learning disabilities. However, many SP patients have an average or higher intelligence.

SP can be corrected. There is no treatment for this condition, but there are many treatments to improve the quality of life of children that suffer from cerebral palsy.

What are the causes and risks of cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy; The fetus or the baby's brain being damaged. Causes that prevent the proper development of the brain arise from neurological damage before birth, during seizures, or within five years after birth. Damage to the brain that controls motor function causes children with SP to experience difficulties in posture, balance and movement. While this disability affects muscle movement, the disease does not originate from problems with muscles or nerves. It is caused only by developmental brain damage.

The first question parents often ask is: What caused my child's brain damage? There are many problems that can cause brain damage:

    Bacterial and viral infections
    Bleeding in the brain
    Oxygen deficiency in the brain before, during, or after birth
    Prenatal alcohol and drug exposure, fish mercury poisoning and toxoplasmosis from raw / undercooked meat
    Head injuries can happen during childbirth or during the first few years of infancy.

Each cerebral palsy case does not have a clear description. The cause of 20% to 50% of cases is unknown. Preterm infants are at risk of developing cerebral palsy because of complications that occur more frequently in early childbirths such as bleeding in the brain. Estimates indicate that 10% to 30% of those with cerebral palsy are premature.

What are the signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy?

The indication for cerebral palsy is different for each child. The most common findings and indications of cerebral palsin are:

     Problems with movement on one side of the body
     Hard muscles
     Excess or loose reflexes
     Involuntary movements or trembling
     Lack of coordination and balance
     Swallowing problems
     Difficulty with speech (dysarthria)
     Delayed engine skills
     Gastrointestinal problems

Damage to a developing brain can cause problems other than movement problems associated with cerebral palsy. Other conditions that may be present beside cerebral palsin include:

     Vision or hearing impaired
     Learning disorders
     Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
     No communication via speech

How is cerebral palsy treated?

Cerebral palsy can not be cured, but treatment usually improves the child's abilities. In general, earlier treatment offers the opportunity to learn new ways to overcome or challenge the developmental barriers of children. Early intervention, support treatments, medications and surgery can help many people improve muscle control. Medication can be used to treat, physical and ergotherapy, speech therapy, to control seizures, relieve muscle spasms and relieve pain. Operating, braces, other orthodontic appliances, wheelchairs, escalators and computer-aided communication tools can be used to correct anatomical abnormalities or loosen tight muscles.

Early treatment is important for children suffering from cerebral palsy because the developing brain and body are more flexible. In the meantime, there are more opportunities for some children to fix or improve their condition.

Treatment does not focus on improving or correcting the child's problems. Rather, it is to support the child's development and thus live as independent as possible. In fact, many children with cerebral palsy live completely self-sufficient, satisfying and meaningful lives.

Children with cerebral palsy can develop motor skills with the help of therapy and other treatments. Parents should seek a multidisciplinary team of specialists to effectively treat their child.

A multidisciplinary team can work with the following specialists:

    Developmental pediatricians
    Psychologists (to assess skills and behaviors)
    Orthopedic surgeons
    Respiratory therapists
    Speech therapists

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