Infantile cerebral palsy (ICP)

Cerebral palsy is a group of diseases that inevitably cause damage to the central nervous system, dysfunction of the motor and muscle systems, lack of coordination, speech disorders, delayed intellectual development.

Causes, risk factors

Infantile cerebral palsy is not a hereditary disease, but the question of genetic predisposition is currently being considered. The main cause of the disease is damage to the child’s brain cells due to oxygen starvation (hypoxia, asphyxia) or trauma (bruises, hemorrhages, etc.) during the prenatal or postnatal period.

Adverse factors during pregnancy:

  • various injuries suffered by mother in pregnancy or at childbirth,
  • adverse radiation background,
  • genetic disorders of the mother,
  • impaired cerebral circulation in the fetus,
  • early and late gestosis,
  • threat of miscarriage,
  • somatic diseases of the pregnant woman, including cardiovascular diseases (arterial hypertension, heart defects, IHD) and endocrine disorders (diabetes mellitus),
  • infectious diseases of the mother,
  • group or Rh incompatibility of the mother and fetus,
  • tight winding of the umbilical cord,
  • premature placental abruption,
  • hypovitaminosis and poor nutrition.

Also, the risk factors for the development of ICP include:

  • preterm birth,
  • low birth weight,
  • large fetus,
  • pelvic position of the fetus,
  • anatomically and clinically narrow pelvis,
  • rapid labor,
  • labor induction.

Symptoms, consequences

The symptoms of ICP can be detected immediately after the birth of the child and can manifest themselves gradually in infancy. In the latter case, it is important to notice them and determine a diagnosis as soon as possible. All parents are advised to keep a diary of the child's development, which specifies the main milestones of the baby.

It is important for parents to monitor the following things:

  • manifestation of absolute reflexes that occur in a child after birth and then fade away. For example, the hand-to-mouth reflex and automatic walking reflex should disappear in 1 -2 months and if they are preserved up to 4-6 months, one should suspect dysfunction of the nervous system.
  • timing and sequence of the development of motor skills and speech development.
  • development of gaming skills (lack of interest in toys).
  • occurrence of the following situations: freezing in some pose, involuntary movements, nodding of the head; the absence of contact with the mother, etc.

Pediatricians do not always hurry to diagnose ICP. Based on the detected specific symptoms (increased anxiety, reflex inhibition, etc.), up to a year the child is often diagnosed with encephalopathy. A child’s brain has huge compensatory possibilities, which can completely neutralize the consequences of brain damage. The child's brain is very flexible, due to which, with a rather large spread of risk factors, the number of patients suffering from ICP is not very large. If a child at the age of more than a year does not sit, walk, speak, has various mental abnormalities and specialists confirm the stability of neurologic symptoms, he/she will be diagnosed with ICP.
The main symptoms of ICP are impaired motor skills: spasticity, athetosis, rigidity, ataxia, limb tremor.

The following symptoms may also occur:

  • disorders of the organs of sight and hearing,
  • change of perception, orientation in space,
  • disorders of speech development,
  • epilepsy,
  • delayed mental and emotional development, learning difficulties,
  • functional disorders of the gastrointestinal tract and urinary system.

If you notice any of the above symptoms, consult a specialist.

Treatment and rehabilitation

Early onset both treatment and rehabilitation programs are of vital importance in ICP. The treatment of infantile cerebral palsy is the only chance to save the child from loneliness and rejection. A competent rehabilitation after infantile cerebral palsy is the only chance to save the child from loneliness and rejection that will pursue them throughout their life and repeatedly worsen their emotional state!

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