Cerebral palsy

Alternative Names

Spastic paralysis; Paralysis – spastic; Spastic hemiplegia; Spastic diplegia; Spastic quadriplegia

Definition of Cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is condition, sometimes thought of as a group of disorders that can involve brain and nervous system functions such as movement, learning, hearing, seeing, and thinking.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Cerebral palsy is caused by injuries or abnormalities of the brain. Most of these problems occur as the baby grows in the womb, but they can happen at any time during the first 2 years of life, while the baby’s brain is still developing.

Symptoms

Symptoms of cerebral palsy can be very different between people with this group of disorders. Symptoms may:

Signs and tests

A full neurological exam is critical. In older people, testing cognitive function is also important.

Treatment

There is no cure for cerebral palsy. The goal of treatment is to help the person be as independent as possible.

Expectations (prognosis)

Cerebral palsy is a lifelong disorder. Long-term care may be required. The disorder does not affect expected length of life. The amount of disability varies.

Review

Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital; and Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 9/16/2009

Central nervous system

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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