Wikipedia Precis

This revision: 10th May 2013 .
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Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of non-progressive,[1][2] non-contagious motor conditions that cause physical disability in human development, chiefly in the various areas of body movement.[3]

Cerebral refers to the cerebrum, which is the affected area of the brain (although the disorder may involve connections between the cortex and other parts of the brain such as the cerebellum), and palsy refers to disorder of movement. Furthermore, paralytic disorders are not cerebral palsy – the condition of quadriplegia, therefore, should not be confused with spastic quadriplegia, nor tardive dyskinesia with dyskinetic cerebral palsy, nor diplegia with spastic diplegia, and so on.

Cerebral palsy's nature as a broad category means it is defined mostly via several different subtypes, especially the type featuring spasticity, and also mixtures of those subtypes.

Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the motor control centers of the developing brain and can occur during pregnancy, during childbirth or after birth up to about age three.[4][5]

Resulting limits in movement and posture cause activity limitation and are often accompanied by disturbances of sensation, depth perception, and other sight-based perceptual problems, communication ability; impairments can also be found in cognition, and epilepsy is found in about one-third of cases.

CP, no matter what the type, is often accompanied by secondary musculoskeletal problems that arise as a result of the underlying disorder.[6]

Improvements in neonatology (specialized medical treatment of newborn babies) have helped reduce the number of babies who develop cerebral palsy and increased the survival of babies with very low birth weights (babies which are more likely to have cerebral palsy).[7][8]

A 2007 six-country survey found an incidence of CP of 2.12–2.45 per 1,000 live births,[9] indicating a slight rise in recent years.

A 2003 study put the average lifetime cost for people with CP in the US at $921,000 per individual, including lost income.[10]

Of the many types and subtypes of CP, none has a known cure. Usually, medical intervention is limited to the treatment and prevention of complications arising from CP's effects

Useful Links

Cerebral Palsy Guidance

Extensive site with much useful information and guidance for parents of children with Cerebral Palsy. Covers daily living, medical information, education and financial assistance (USA). Definitely an essential site for parents.


Scope are a large charity focused on Cerebral Palsy and in the UK should be considered the 'first stop' for advice and support. They maintain an excellent website which provides information about the condition and full details of the many services they offer.

United Cerebral Palsy

A US nation-wide network of organisations concerned with inclusion of individuals with Cerebral Palsy. The website hosts information and discussion with a US flavour.

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