Cerebral Palsy

cerebral palsy (sərē´brəl pôl´zē), disability caused by brain damage before or during birth or in the first years, resulting in a loss of voluntary muscular control and coordination. Although the exact cause is unknown, apparent predisposing factors include disease (e.g., rubella, genital herpes simplex), very low infant birthweight (less than 3.3 lb [1.5 kg]), and injury or physical abuse. Maternal smoking, alcohol consumption, and ingestion of certain drugs can also contribute. Most cases are associated with prenatal problems; about 10% of the cases are thought to be due to oxygen deficiency during the birth process. The severity of the affliction is dependent on the extent of the brain damage. Those with mild cases may have only a few affected muscles, while severe cases can result in total loss of coordination or paralysis.

There are many different forms of the disability, each caused by damage to a different area of the brain. The spastic type, accounting for over half of the cases, results from damage to the motor areas of the cerebral cortex and causes the affected muscles to be contracted and overresponsive to stimuli. Athetoid cerebral palsy, caused by damage to the basal ganglia, results in continual, involuntary writhing movements. Choreic cerebral palsy is characterized by jerking, flailing movements. Ataxic cerebral palsy, involving the cerebellum, causes either an impaired sense of balance or a lack of coordinated movements. In addition to these types, which may occur singly or together, emotional, visual, and hearing impairments and convulsive seizures may be present. Some of those affected have a degree of mental retardation, but in many the intellect is unimpaired.

There is no cure for the disorder. Treatment usually includes physical, occupational, and speech therapy, and sometimes includes biofeedback and muscle relaxants. Sometimes appliances such as braces and surgery are helpful. Measures that appear to help decrease the incidence of cerebral palsy include maternal immunization against rubella, maternal abstention from smoking and alcohol consumption, magnesium sulfate given in premature labor, treatment for Rh incompatibility (see blood groups), and treatment of hyperbilirubinemia (jaundice) in the newborn.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Cerebral Palsy: Selected full-text books and articles

Origins and Causes of Cerebral Palsy: Symptoms and Diagnosis By Myers, Scott M.; Shapiro, Bruce K The Exceptional Parent, Vol. 29, No. 4, April 1999
Coping and Adaptation in Families of Children with Cerebral Palsy By Shu-Li, Lin Exceptional Children, Vol. 66, No. 2, Winter 2000
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Development of Everyday Occupations of Children with Cerebral Palsy Using Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy By Lazarieva, Olena; Kushchenko, Oleksandr; Muszkieta, Radoslaw; Zukow, Walery Journal of Physical Education and Sport, Vol. 18, No. 4, December 2018
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Effects of Exercise in People with Cerebral Palsy. A Review By Quesada, Priego J. I.; Lucas-Cuevas, A. G.; Llana-Belloch, S.; Pérez-Soriano, P Journal of Physical Education and Sport, Vol. 14, No. 1, March 2014
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Academic and Personality Characteristics of Gifted Students with Cerebral Palsy: A Multiple Case Study By Willard-Holt, Colleen Exceptional Children, Vol. 65, No. 1, Fall 1998
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Cerebral Palsy and Music Achievement By Stoshljevikj, Miodrag L.; Eminovikj, Fadilj N.; Nikikj, Radmila M.; Achikj, Gordana I.; Pacikj, Sanela R The Journal of Special Education and Rehabilitation, Vol. 9, No. 3/4, July 1, 2008
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
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