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1. What is cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a brain disorder that affects movement of skeletal muscles as well as involuntary muscles. It is a common condition which generally occurs before birth due to damage to the cerebrum.
2. What steps are involved in the diagnosis of cerebral palsy?
Before diagnosing, the doctor will first check the medical history of the mother and her child. After ruling out other possibilities such as muscular dystrophy and tumours, the doctor will examine the child's movements, reflexes and posture. The doctor may also refer the patient to an educational psychologist for better assesment of intellectual development.
3. What are the signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy?
Children with cerebral palsy exhibit improper muscular movements. There may be over or under development of muscles, involuntary twisting movements, poor balance and coordination, difficulty in controlling bladder and bowel movements, ataxia and other symptoms which generally progress after the child reaches three years of age.
4. What are the risk factors associated with cerebral palsy?
Risk factors for cerebral palsy include low birth weight, multiple gestation, preterm birth, infants born through infertility treatments, infection, fever or other medical disorders during pregnancy, exposure to toxic chemicals, infants prone to seizures and untreated jaundice in infants.
5. What are the causes of cerebral palsy?
Cerebral damage causes cerebral palsy. The cerebrum is responsible for controlling various movements of the body and is also concerned with learning, communication, vision, hearing, etc. In most cases, this damage occurs before birth, but can also occur after birth. Genetic mutations, internal bleeding, damage to the brain's white matter and brain damage after birth are the main causes.