Colloquially known as brain paralysis, cerebral palsy is the non-progressive but irremediable damage occurring in the brain from birth to first five years before the brain completes its development.
A medicine used by the expecting mother, a disease, infection, trauma or a genetic disease can cause cerebral palsy. In our country, generally premature or difficult birth, lack of oxygen during birth or cord entanglement are shown as reasons. An inflammatory disease after birth or brain haemorrhage can also cause cerebral palsy.
Families shall be careful about the symptoms. If there are problems in development stages of the child these shall be investigated. If the child cannot sit when it should, or cannot hold her head up when she should, if her attention to environment is low, primitive reflexes continue for long, situation shall be examined. Since paediatricians monitor this period, their warnings shall be taken seriously by the parents. When necessary, centres that monitor babies at risk shall be consulted.
Cerebral palsy is detected at walking age in some children. However, when the family consults a specialist doctor with complaint of not being able to walk and diagnosis is made, it can be too late for many things. Therefore, monitoring children at risk starting from early periods is vital.
Cerebral palsy can manifest in retardation in all functions. Mental retardation is a part of this. Intelligence of the child can be close to normal but can be behind as well.
Deformities in sight, hearing and other functions can also accompany. In early intervention corrections can be made to sight and hearing.
Diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy diagnosis can be made with clinical evaluation of growth deficiency while examinations such as MRI or EMG can also assist in diagnosis. When clinical development deficiency is seen in the child and findings are detected, families shall not ignore this and shall consult a doctor. Diagnosis is made by the doctor of the patient with the results of evaluation and examinations such as MRI.
Families may sometimes think that they had MRI and seen no problems and consider their child does not have cerebral palsy. But extra attention shall be paid to this; while there are children who have near-normal MRI results but have the disease and children with MRI that indicate problems but develop near-normal growth.
Directing to Treatment
First of all, it shall be known that cerebral palsy is not a standard disease that manifest same symptoms in all patients; hence its treatment differs in each patient. Treatment continues for the whole life of the child. Treatment has many stages and is conducted with cooperation of doctors from different disciplines. Physiotherapists are very important in the treatment because they spend the most time with the child. They shall monitor the child during their work and direct the child to a neurologist when they see a problem in her development. They shall direct the child to a paediatric orthopaedist when they think the child has problem in her bones. The duty of paediatric orthopaedists in cerebral palsy treatment is to employ various methods to enable the children stand up and walk.
Contents of the page are for information purposes only, you must consult your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.