Cerebral palsy is a very diverse and complex condition with varying degrees, from mild to severe. This means that each specific case of cerebral palsy is as individual as the people themselves. Cerebral palsy is characterized by an inability to fully control motor function, particularly muscle control and coordination. ‘Cerebral’ means that the cause of difficulties lay in the brain, not the muscles as originally thought. ‘Palsy’ means having problems with movement and posture, or motor control impairment.
Depending on which areas of the brain have been damaged, one or more of the following may occur: muscle tightness or spasticity; involuntary movement; disturbance in gait (walk) or mobility, difficulty in swallowing and problems with speech. In addition, the following symptoms are sometimes associated with cerebral palsy: abnormal sensation and perception; impairment of sight, hearing or speech; seizures; and/or mental retardation. Other problems that may arise are difficulties in feeding, bladder and bowel control, problems with breathing because of postural difficulties, skin disorders because of pressure sores, and learning disabilities.
With new information on cerebral palsy, new techniques and treatments are being practiced. Botox, or botulism toxin, is the newest treatment to show high success rates. The Botulism toxin relieves cerebral palsy symptoms by reducing tightness in muscles, which allows better control of movement, and increasing the stretch of muscles, reducing the risk of permanent muscle contractions. In recent tests, some children were even able to write with a pen or use a computer touch screen to communicate for the first time. The continuous finding of new information on cerebral palsy leaves the door wide open for the future of cerebral palsy treatment.
The United Cerebral Palsy Associations estimate that more than 500,000 Americans have Cerebral Palsy. (From www.cerebralpalsysource.com )
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