Cerebral Palsy

With an average incidence of three per thousand lives, 25 lakh people are estimated to live with Cerebral Palsy (CP) in India. This neurological condition, which occurs due to brain damage before, during or shortly after birth, affects body movements and muscle coordination. People with CP have trouble sitting, learning, feeling, thinking and communicating.

Definitions

The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 defines Cerebral Palsy as a
non-progressive neurological condition affecting body movements and muscle
coordination, caused by damage to one or more specific areas of the brain, usually
occurring before, during or shortly after birth.

While movement problems are the central feature of CP, difficulties with thinking,
learning, feeling, communication and behavior often co-occur, with 28% having epilepsy,
58% having difficulties with communication, at least 42% having problems with their
vision, and 23–56% having learning disabilities. Muscle contractions in people with
cerebral palsy are commonly thought to arise from over activation.

A green ribbon placed on the palm of a person, representing Cerebral Palsy Day | © Pixabay

Causes

Abnormal brain development or injury to the developing brain can cause CP. The damage
affects the part of the brain that controls body movement, coordination, and posture.
The brain damage usually occurs before birth, but it can also happen during birth or the
first years of life. In most cases, the exact cause of CP isn’t known. Some of the possible
causes include:

  • asphyxia neonatorum, or a lack of oxygen to the brain during labor and delivery
  • gene mutations that result in abnormal brain development
  • severe jaundice in infancy
  • maternal infections, such German measles and herpes simplex
  • brain infections, such as encephalitis and meningitis
  • intracranial hemorrhage, or bleeding in the brain
  • head injuries as a result of a car accident, a fall, or child abuse.

Statistics in India

There are an estimated 25 lakh people in India with cerebral palsy. The incidence of
cerebral palsy in the country is three per thousand live births. Spastic cerebral palsy is the
most common type, occurring in 70 to 80 per cent of all cases.

References for More Reading and Understanding/Sources

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