Cerebral palsy has been affecting children ever since there have been children. Though the condition is not very common, it is simply not a newly discovered disorder. The medical industry has started studying more about cerebral palsy in 1861. The initiative began when William John Little, an English orthopedics surgeon, published his research, which was the first to describe neurological problems in children diagnosed with spastic diplegia. Thus, up to this day, spastic diplegia is still often called Little’s Disease.
The word ‘cerebral palsy’ was coined by a British medical doctor named Sir William Osler during the late 1800s. Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud published the earliest psychological and medical paper about the condition. During those times, it was believed that the condition was rooted at obstetrical complications present since birth. However, Freud disagreed because he believed the condition might start as early as the brain’s initial development while still in the mother’s womb.
Currently, about two in every thousand newly born infants are diagnosed with cerebral palsy. In the United States alone, it is estimated that about 5,000 babies and toddlers are diagnosed with the condition every year. There are about 1,500 preschoolers who show symptoms of mild cerebral palsy at the same time. Overall, approximately 500,000 of the total US population show several degree of the condition.
Until this day, there is still no scientific and clear system for monitoring the condition’s occurrence. Thus, no one could be certain whether cerebral palsy incidence is declining, increasing, or staying at the same level. Determining actual cases worldwide is also problematic because in many parts of the world, many children are left undiagnosed.
Cerebral palsy does not fade away not is it cured. However, there are instances when a child is found with mild condition. In rare occasions, mild cerebral palsy patients recover before such children reach their pre-school years. In severe cases, cerebral palsy poses a lifetime of disability. Likewise, movement and other related problems would be affected. What the child could learn and do all throughout his life could also be altered and limited.
Most babies born with the condition usually take irregular posture. It could be noticed that such patients’ bodies could be simply stiff and floppy. There could be adjoining birth defects like small jawbone, spinal curvature, and small head. In many cases, basic symptoms get worse and more serious as the child starts to gets older. In many cases, parents are unaware about presence of cerebral palsy in their kids. In general, babies before the first year of age start to show more prominent and sure signs of cerebral palsy.
Available medications or treatments for cerebral palsy could include muscle relaxants and Botox. Muscle relaxants could be of great help because they could provide an option to relax even the most contracted and stiffest muscles. Botulinum toxin type A or more commonly called as Botox among plastic surgeons are often injected into facial muscles to eliminate wrinkles. It could be used to treat cerebral palsy patients because they could relieve muscle contractures and spasms that are common to cerebral palsy patients.
Lastly, cerebral palsy is not contagious and it is not hereditary either. Thus, it could not be passed on to people like diseases. A cerebral palsy patient could have a normal life despite his handicap and have his own children. It is not likely that he could pass on the condition to his children. There are common risk factors, though, and most of those are associated to pregnancy conditions.