Cerebral Palsy

“It is a movement and posture disorder due to a brain injury that prevents a person from moving the muscles and coordinating them in a normal way. It often presents with language, vision, and hearing problems.” Bax, 1964

Cerebral palsy is not a disease, whereby is not contagious, it is not inherited and there is no cure medicine; Therefore, it is a special life condition that permanently accompanies the person.

The term is, therefore, very tough. For many, it defines someone who has a paralyzed brain, which is associated with intellectual disability, which is false.

The cerebral palsy does not imply having a static brain, but a trapped mind inside a body that doesn’t react as it should. It is caused by neurological damage that prevents the correct coordination between the brain’s orders and body’s answer.

Cerebral palsy is different in each person: it can be obvious or discreet; some people with this life condition can move or not move, talk, talk with difficulty or not talk. Even for some it may be impossible to eat their food by themselves.

Many require a companion that supports, moves, feed, and attend their necessities to move, eat, sleep, be neat, take their therapies, procure an occupation, and socialize throughout their life.

This condition has no cure, but through comprehensive care, living spaces, work, warm and secure treatments, it can be achieved a greater state of independency, a good emotional recovery, and a better familiar, labor, and social integration.

The cerebral palsy manifests in very different ways, depending on the lesion location and its motor consequences, denominating the following types:

Spastic Cerebral Palsy: (Localization in the Pyramidal System).

It is mainly characterized by increased muscle tone, especially at superior and inferior limbs level, with decreased voluntary movements, being rigid and slow.

It causes the adoption of abnormal positions that can cause chronic and irreversible permanent deformities. This exaggerated augment in tone affects in many times, among others, the muscles of the thorax, abdominals, diaphragm, larynx, jaw, tongue, which manifest in speaking problems such as:

  • Mimic alteration: expressionless face.
  • Slow and difficult articulation.
  • Insufficient and shallow breathing.

Athetoid Cerebral Palsy: (Localization in the Basal Nuclei)

It is characterized, mainly, by slow movements, involuntary (aggravated by fatigue and the emotions, and attenuated at rest, disappearing with sleep), and uncoordinated, which hinder voluntary activity.

Ataxic Cerebral Palsy: (Localization in the Cerebellum). 

It is characterized by disorders of coordination and static position. Produces instability in equilibrium, head control, trunk, and limbs.

Being the most common manifestations:

  • Muscular tone alteration.
  • Lax and fragile ligaments and articulations.
  • Uncoordinated march.
  • Alteration In direction and movement.
  • Inability to walk in straight line.
  • Slowed down language.

Mixed Cerebral Palsy:

Frequently, appears in combination of the anterior types, affecting more widely the individual in the motor, sensorial, mental, and affective sphere.

We should not forget that Cerebral Palsy, in addition of being a motor disorder, it can come accompanied, in many cases, with a series of problems that hinder the general development of the person, as may be:

  • Visual and hearing alterations.
  • Mental retardation.
  • Epilepsy
  • Perception problems (visual, hearing, and touch)
  • Perceptive-motor problems (corporal scheme alteration, space-temporal orientation, laterality).
  • Conduct alterations.
  • Language development alterations.

In response to the causes that provoke Cerebral Palsy, we can talk about:

A) Congenital Cerebral Palsy, that may be present either in months of gestation or at delivery time, due to:

Prenatal factors:

  • Prenatal anoxia (umbilical cord circulars to the neck, placental or cord pathologies).
  • Prenatal cerebral hemorrhage.
  • Prenatal infection (toxoplasmosis, rubella).
  • RH factor (mother-fetus incompatibility).
  • Radiation exposure.
  • Maternal malnutrition (anemia).
  • Abortion threat.
  • Medications consumption contraindicated by your doctor.
  • Elderly or too young mother.
  • Prematurity.

Perinatal factors:

  • Low birthweight
  • Perinatal hypoxia.
  • Direct physical trauma during childbirth
  • Misuse and application of instruments (forceps).
  • Placenta previa or abruption.
  • Prolonged and / or difficult labor.
  • Pelvic presentation with head retention.
  • Asphyxiation by circulars around the neck (Anoxia).
  • Cyanosis at birth.
  • Bronco-aspiration.

B) Acquired Cerebral Palsy, occurring after birth and before two years of age due to postnatal factors:

  • Cranial injuries.
  • Infections such as Meningitis, Encephalitis, brain abscesses.
  • Poisoning (lead, arsenic).
  • Vascular accidents.
  • Epilepsy.
  • High fever with convulsions.
  • Electric shock accidents.
  • Encephalopathies by Anoxia.

According to the Special Surgery Center of Mexico IAP, in Mexico there are about 500, 000 persons with Cerebral Palsy. Unfortunately, there is no account of a reliable register in the public sector that can give account to real numbers. Of these people, it is calculated that 25% of the kids will never walk and the 75% of the cases will need some type of technical assistance to do it. In addition, according to the Office of Representation for the Promotion and Social Integration for people with disability of the Republic Presidency, every year it is adding 12 thousand new cases to these statistics.