Healthcare Treatment Guidelines

About Cerebral Palsy

Definition of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a general term describing a group of chronic non-pregressive neurological symptoms which cause impaired control of movement and which are evident in the first few years of life, usually before age 3. The disorders are induced by damage or faulty development of the motor areas in the brain, disrupting the patient’s ability to control movement and posture. Symptoms of cerebral palsy include difficulty with fine motor tasks such as writing, poor balance and walking, and involuntary movements. The exact combination of symptoms differs from patient to patient and may vary over time. Some patients also have seizures and intellectual disability, however, this is not always the case. Babies with cerebral palsy are frequently slower than average in achieving developmental milestones like learning to roll over, sit, crawl, smile, or walk. Cerebral palsy is usually thought of as congenital or perinatal, however, it can also be acquired after birth. Many of the causes of cerebral palsy that have been identified through research are preventable or even treatable: head injury, Rh incompatibility, jaundice and rubella (German measles).

Diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy

Doctors diagnose cerebral palsy by tests of motor skills and reflexes and by medical history.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Computerized Tomography (CT) scans are typically ordered when the physician suspects cerebral palsy; howerer, they are not definitive. These tests can provide evidence of physical abnormalities such as hydrocephalus (an accumulation of fluid in the cerebral ventricles of the brain), and they can be utilized to exclude other brain disorders. These scans do not prove that the patient has cerebral palsy; nor do they predict how well a specific patient will function in the future. Patients with normal scans may have severe symptoms, and while others whose scans are clearly abnormal have only modest physical signs. However, as a group, patients with cerebral palsy are statistically more likely to have brain scars, cysts, and other changes visible on scans. When physical examination suggests cerebral palsy, an abnormal scan helps confirms the clinical diagnosis.

Even though specific symptoms can change as time passes, cerebral palsy by definition isn’t progressive, so if a patient shows increasing impairment, the problem is usually another neurological disorder.

Varieties of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is classified by the type of movement problem (such as spastic or even athetoid cerebral palsy) or by he body parts affected (hemiplegia, diplegia, and quadriplegia). Spasticity refers to the inability of a muscle to relax, while athetosis refers to an inability to control its movement. Babies who are initially hypotonic (“floppy”) may later develop spasticity. Hemiplegia is cerebral palsy that involves 1 arm and 1 leg on one side of the body, whereas diplegia is the involvement of both legs. Quadriplegia refers to symptoms involving all 4 extremities as well as trunk and neck muscles. Balance and coordination problems are referred to as ataxia.

For instance, a patient with spastic diplegia has mostly spastic muscle problems of the legs, while perhaps also displaying a smaller component of athetosis and balance problems. The patient with athetoid quadriplegia, on the more hand, would have lack of control of the muscles of both arms and legs, however such a patient will usually have smaller problems with ataxia and spasticity as well. Normally a child with quadriplegic cerebral palsy will be unable to walk independently. The degree of impairment can vary from patient to patient and range from mild to severe.

Cerebral Palsy Therapy

There is no standard therapy that benefits all patients. Drugs are useful to control seizures and muscle cramps and braces can compensate for muscle imbalance. Surgery, mechanical aids to help overcome impairments, counseling for emotional and psychological needs, and physical, occupational, speech, and behavioral therapy are all effective.

Prognosis for Cerebral Palsy

Though cerebral palsy is incurable to date, many patients can enjoy near-normal lives if their neurological symptoms are properly managed.

Medical Research

There is evidence which suggests that cerebral palsy results from incorrect cell development early in prenatal life. As an example, a group of researchers has recently observed that approximately one-third of cerebral palsy patients also have missing enamel on certain teeth. Bleeding inside the brain, breathing and circulation problems and seizures can all cause cerebral palsy and each has separate causes and treatment. Researchers are currently conducting trials to determine whether certain drugs can help halt neonatal stroke, and more investigators are examining the causes of low birth-weight. More studies are being done to determine how brain trauma (like brain damage from a shortage of oxygen or blood flow, bleeding in the brain, and seizures) can cause the release of brain chemicals which lead to premanent brain damage.

Organizations Funding Cerebral Palsy Research & Therapy

Easter Seals, Epilepsy Foundation, March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, United Cerebral Palsy, National Disability Sports Alliance, Childrens Neurobiological Solutions Foundation, Childrens Hemiplegia and Stroke Foundation.

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  • 1. A teaspoon of iodine is all a person requires in a lifetime, but because iodine cannot be stored for long periods by the body, tiny amounts are needed regularly. As iodine is only found in soil, humans receive their iodine by consuming animal products and plants.

    2. The solution to IDD is relatively simple and inexpensive. Food fortification has proven to be a highly successful and sustainable intervention. Iodized salt programs and iodized oil supplements are the most common tools in the fight against IDD.

    3. Iodized salt is the first choice for intervention because it is universally and regularly consumed, costs very low per person annually and is manufactured with simple technology.

    4. A reliable method of assessing the extent of IDD in a population is to determine the urinary iodine excretion levels in a vulnerable group. Pregnant mothers are a susceptible group for assessing iodine deficiency, as the iodine requirements during this physiological state are comparatively high.

    5. High TSH levels are an indicator of low iodine levels. TSH helps the thyroid gland capture iodine from the blood, so if little iodine is available, the body increases its production of TSH to try and capture more. In a population with sufficient iodine, fewer than three per cent of newborns should have a TSH concentration over 5mIU/L, says the WHO. Dietary changes are responsible for the lack of iodine.

    6. Health education is a effective way to eradicate IDD, where messages related to IDD are disseminated and the schoolteachers can be requested to visit children’s homes to check living conditions and to check if they are consuming iodized salt and if the iodine content of the salt they consume is adequate. A public awareness program before and during pregnancy would be good for iodine.

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  • Training teachers and other workers to conduct home iodine checks is a part of UNICEF’s strategy focusing on grassroots awareness building to increase the consumption of adequately iodized salt. UNICEF also assists the Government of India and the state governments with the production and distribution of information materials.

    For example, to mark Global Iodine Deficiency Disorders Day on October 21, 2001, India issued a commemorative stamp on iodized salt.

    A salt-testing kit costs are very cheap and can easily be used by local communities to verify whether the salt they buy is adequately iodized. With UNICEF support, thousands of these kits are being distributed in India through the public network of anganwadi, or community health centers, and schools. UNICEF also provides support for the production and distribution of millions of leaflets and other materials promoting consumption of iodized salt.

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  • 1. Salt provides 15 to 42 percent of daily requirements.

    2. Seafoods, eggs, papayas, mangoes, pineapple, onions, potatoes, oats, leaf lettuce, beans, carrots, and anything grown near the ocean. Depending on the amount consumed, fresh fruits and vegetables provide between 4 and 27 percent of daily iodine requirements.

    3. Herbal sources are kelp, dulse (another seaweed), black walnut, spirulina. Kelp lowers the bowel transit time, absorbs toxins from the bowel, and regulates the intestinal flora. This is why many people notice a reduction in body odor and gas while taking the kelp, because it purifies the body, making it a favorite source of iodine supplementation.

    4. Cereals contribute 32 to 49 percent of dietary iodine. Milk and other dairy products are another important source.

    Best sources are raw because heat and food processing destroys iodine. Insufficient iodine in the diet can lead to the medical condition goiter and other iodine deficiency disorders.

    Iodine also protects against cancer, it provides the lymph with extra fighting power to eliminate toxins from the blood. The body makes estrogens from fat, even if the ovaries are removed surgically. High estrogens are related to increased risks of breast and uterine cancer. In fact, estrogen is the ONLY known cause of uterine cancers. Iodine is also protects against both cancers. So, for women on HRT, estrogen only therapies, increased iodine in the diet is needed.

    It protects against radiation, and was given to workers at Chernobyl in the cleaning up of the nuclear waste, and government workers who may potentially be at risk for radiation poisoning were rationed iodine supplements. It is known that 90% of the blood going to the brain is filtered by the thyroid and clean blood to the brain reduces nervousness, brain fatigue, and “stinking thinking”.

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  • Manganese and magnesium assimilation is also defective when iodine is missing. The reason is the heart beats with calcium and relaxes with magnesium. When you have a deficiency of magnesium, you will find it difficult to relax, or relax your heart.

    In children, the thyroid does not function normally until age 2 or 3, but for some children that function isn’t complete until ages 5-12. Iodine during the growth of children is therefore essential to help protect growing children against toxins in their systems.

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  • Iodine is essential for regulating the thyroid gland, manufacturing the hormone thyroxin to control the metabolism of the body, affecting growth rate, digestion, and the burning up of excess fat. It regulates cholesterol levels, prevents cretinism in newborns when taken by the pregnant women, it’s essential for energy production, prevention of anemia, necessary for lymphatic system (this is where the body destroys a lot of toxins), and protects against toxins in the brain.

    Essential for the health of the thyroid gland, Iodine plays a crucial role in regulating body metabolism, including how quickly it burns calories. When supplied with sufficient iodine, the thyroid produces two iodine-containing hormones called thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These iodine-dependent hormones produced by the thyroid also control body temperature, physical growth, reproduction, and the growth of skin and hair.

    Iodizing table salt is one of the best and least expensive methods of preventing IDD. The targets is the elimination of IDD through universal salt iodization.Where salt iodization has been in place for over five years, improvement in iodine status has been overwhelming. Over the last decade, the number of countries with salt iodization programmes doubled, rising from 46 to 93.

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