What is Cerebral Palsy (CP)?
17 million people in the world have cerebral palsy
When the brain is damaged during pregnancy, childbirth or during the first years of life, varying degrees of impairment may result. There can be impairments related to sensory (vision or hearing), cognitive, speech and behavior, as well as, in some cases, epilepsy. All of these decisively affect the limitations in the daily life of the individual.
The child’s brain injury can be caused by various reasons. Before birth, brain abnormalities may result from a viral infection or from vessel connectivity problems. During childbirth, lack of oxygen or brain hemorrhages may cause brain damage to the newborn. During infancy, accidents that restrict oxygen, such as drowning, or viral infections that cause inflammation of the meninges and brain are the leading reasons for cerebral motor difficulties. Metabolic disorders are another possible cause of brain damage at all age levels
Is healing possible?
Damage to the brain is not curable but also not progressive. Targeted therapies, however, can achieve a positive quality of life and autonomy in daily living activities. With proper therapy, the chance for success in “re-circuiting the brain” becomes a possibility. It is important to detect cerebral motor disabilities as soon as possible and introduce therapies without delay.
How often does brain damage occur?
Brain impairments occur at a frequency of 2-2.5 out of every 1,000 births, making it the most frequent cause of motor disabilities in children. Despite considerable advancements in medicine, their frequency in western countries has seen only minimal decrease over the past decade. The improvement of monitoring during pregnancy certainly reduces complications at birth. Also improvement in tracking the medical treatment of newborns with congenital infectious diseases has helped. However, because the survival rate for children born prematurely, with a low birth weight or other complications has improved, children with cerebral motor disabilities continue to increase.