Cerebral palsy: causes, symptoms and treatments

Cerebral palsy: causes, symptoms and treatments

Lata Bhat

By Dr Lata BhatPediatrics

Damage caused in the child’s brain at the time of pregnancy, birth or immediately afterwards, may sometimes lead to permanent damage in motor disorders irrevocably affecting hearing, vision and learning disabilities. Though in common medical parlance this condition is known as Cerebral Palsy, in reality it is a collective term which also includes non-progressive neurological disorder that children tend to suffer from.

Over the years, it has emerged as one of the most common and fatal diseases in children, one that affects each child differently.

Causes and Prevention’s-

1. Proper care during pregnancy to prevent infection:

Women are susceptible to infections like German measles or cytomegalovirus during pregnancy. These can damage the developing nervous system of the fetus. They are a common occurrence and must be detected and treated at the earliest. Therefore, it is imperative that the expectant mother gets as much care as possible during the antenatal period.

2. Jaundice:

Cerebral Palsy also poses a threat to a newly born child. The livers of infants take time to begin operating. Therefore, bilirubin (generally excreted by the liver) keeps accumulating in the blood of the infants causing jaundice. This, if untreated it has the potential to damage the brain cells. Therefore, it is very important to choose a hospital that is equipped with the facilities to treat it as well as the presence of a paediatrician who can keep a check and a look out for the onset of jaundice on the baby and sufficient care must be taken to treat it at the earliest.

3. Incompatibility of Rh between mother and the child:

In case of incompatibility of blood groups, the mother’s body automatically produces antibodies that adversely affect the blood cells of the fetus. This leads to jaundice in the new born which carries the threat of affecting the brain cells.

4. Low blood sugar of the baby and its prevention:

Low blood sugar of the baby is a common cause of concern that must be prevented and treated at the earliest. Therefore, it is important that the baby must be fed properly to prevent that.

Treatment-

There are various treatments that have developed over the years that have proved instrumental in treating children afflicted with cerebral palsy. Some of them are-

1. Medicines:

Medicines like diazepam and dantrolene are often recommended by doctors to treat cerebral palsy. These medicines reduce drooling and spasms in children.

2. Surgery:

Surgery can impede the lack of mobility and the intense pain that occur in children who suffer from cerebral palsy. Surgeries are used as corrective measures for the symptoms of cerebral palsy especially the abnormalities in the bones.

3. Regular Check-up with the Paediatrician:

If there is a high risk for developing cerebral palsy, a regular follow up with a developmental paediatrician is important so that early intervention can be done and since brain has neuroplasticity, regular check- ups can help to achieve better brain development.