Cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is a term used to describe various movement disorders caused by damage to the brain during pregnancy, birth or in infancy. Sufferers may also have cognitive impairment, delayed mental development and problems with movement and co-ordination that can have serious negative consequences for their quality of life and independence. Learn more about the condition, its diagnosis and the different treatment options available.

For cerebral palsy that develops after birth or during delivery, parents generally have to wait for several months before a diagnosis can be made. The average age of diagnosis is between three and 18 months, when the parents notice signs of delayed development.

  • A diagnosis cerebral palsy is based on an assessment and a series of tests such as : a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan – which uses radio and magnetic waves to study the brain in more detail
  • an ultrasound scan – which uses sound waves to build up a picture of your child’s brain tissue
  • a computerised tomography (CT) scan – which uses a series of X-rays that are then assembled by a computer to create a detailed 3D model of your child’s brain
  • an electroencephalogram (EEG) – where small electrodes are placed on the scalp to monitor brain activity
  • an electromyogram (EMG) – where muscle activity and the function of the peripheral nerves (the network of nerves that run from your brain and spinal cord to other areas of the body) are tested
  • blood tests

2 to 2.5

cases per 1,000 live births in industrialized countries

Motor, sensory and intellectual impairment

3 to 18 months

the average age of diagnosis

Sources :

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Cerebral-palsy/Pages/Introduction.aspx Last accessed 18/07/2017
http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cerebral-palsy/Pages/Diagnosis.aspx Last accessed 18/07/2017
http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cerebral-palsy/Pages/Treatment.aspx Last accessed 18/07/2017
1 Rosenbaum P, Paneth N, Leviton A, Goldstein M, Bax M, Damiano D, Dan B, Jacobsson B. The Definition and Classification of Cerebral Palsy. Dev Med Child Neurol 2007; 49 : 1-44, doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2007.00001.x
2 http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1179555-clinical

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Date of preparation August 2017 / October 2017