Written by Jeff Meyer on 20 Jan 2016
New research by scientists at the federal U.S. Centers for Disease Control revealed a slight increase in the rate of children who are born with congenital cerebral palsy in 2015.
In 1985, the first year being investigated in the study, 1.9 per of 1,000 children born were diagnosed with congenital cerebral palsy, while, in 2002, that number had increased to 2.2 per 1,000. Though researchers did not appear to be terribly concerned by the rather slight increase, they did express worries about other findings. For instance, medical care vastly improved between 1985 and 2002, and yet CP is statistically just as prevalent seventeen years later. This seems to suggest that if health care had not improved during those seventeen years, the rate of babies born with cerebral palsy might have increased substantially more.
Furthermore, the researchers noted a higher statistical prevalence of CP amongst African-American children than among Hispanics and Caucasians.
While individual cases may differ, this is due in large part to many factors, most especially the lack of access to, or inability to find quality health care for expectant mothers and infants, general poor health and nutrition, and the absence of financial resources to provide for their infant’s physical needs. As the researchers concluded, this suggests that there is ongoing need to remain cognizant of and to cater to the needs of both cerebral palsy patients, as well as their families.
Medical experts estimate that anywhere from 4-25% of CP cases are potentially linkable to medical negligence. The study did, however, cite increased survival rates of infants born early and hence with lower birth weights. TThis finding from the research is significant because nearly half of all children who develop cerebral palsy were born prematurely, and roughly ninety percent of these cases are believed to be connected to issues related to the birth itself, or right after it.
Cerebral palsy is a condition whereby a disorder within a person’s brain interferes with their bodily movement and increases the likelihood of speech, vision, and hearing disorders among its young victims. Some babies with CP do not roll over as early as they should. Over ninety percent of CP cases are congenital, which means that the disorder was present at birth. Only two percent of CP cases are believed to be genetic, and the ailment is slightly more frequent in males than females. Spastic cerebral palsy, where muscle tightness is the primary symptom, occurs in 70% of all CP cases, which results in significant and lifelong developmental difficulties in patients.
While there is no cure for cerebral palsy, certain treatments, medications, and therapies have been known to help its patients, which if sought and combined with a total patient care plan, significantly increased the quality and length of life of cerebral palsy patients.