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Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a range of permanent movement disorders that appear in early childhood. It is caused by abnormal development or damage to the parts of the brain that control movement, balance and posture, although the exact cause is unknown. The problems often occur during pregnancy, however, in some cases, they occur during childbirth or after birth. Signs and symptoms vary among people. Often, symptoms include poor coordination, stiff muscles, weak muscles and tremors. There may be problems with sensation, vision, hearing, swallowing and speaking. Often, babies with cerebral palsy do not roll over, sit, crawl or walk as early as other children of their age. Other symptoms include seizures and problems with thinking or reasoning, which each occur in about one third of people with CP. While symptoms may get more noticeable over the first few years of life, underlying problems do not worsen over time.
Cerebral Palsy can be inherited. About 2% of the cases reported worldwide are shown to be due to autosomal recessive inheritance.
Autosomal Inheritance

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons


Symptoms
• Variations in muscle tone, such as being either too stiff or too floppy
• Stiff muscles and exaggerated reflexes (spasticity)
• Stiff muscles with normal reflexes (rigidity)
• Lack of muscle coordination (ataxia)
• Tremors or involuntary movements
• Slow, writhing movements (athetosis)
• Delays in reaching motor skills milestones, such as pushing up on arms, sitting up alone or crawling
• Favoring one side of the body, such as reaching with only one hand or dragging a leg while crawling
• Difficulty walking, such as walking on toes, a crouched gait, a scissors-like gait with knees crossing, a wide gait or an asymmetrical gait
• Excessive drooling or problems with swallowing
• Difficulty with sucking or eating
• Delays in speech development or difficulty speaking
• Difficulty with precise motions, such as picking up a crayon or spoon
• Seizures


Treatment
• Medications
• Physical Therapy
• Speech and language therapy
• Surgery

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