Cerebral palsy is a condition caused by damage to the brain during pregnancy, labor or shortly following birth. It is neither progressive nor communicable. It is not “curable” in the accepted sense, although training and therapy can help. It is characterized by an inability to control motor function. Depending on which part of the brain has been damaged, one or more of the following may occur: increased or decreased muscle tone; spasms; involuntary movement; disturbance in gait and mobility; impairment of sight, hearing or speech. Among the causes is an insufficient amount of oxygen reaching the fetal or newborn brain. Other causes may be associated with premature birth, PH or A-B-O blood type incompatibility between parents, infection of the mother with German Measles or other viral diseases early in pregnancy. A less common type of cerebral palsy is acquired cerebral palsy: head injury is the most frequent cause, usually the result of motor vehicle accidents, falls or child abuse.
It is estimated that some 500,000 children and adults in the United States manifest one or more of the symptoms of cerebral palsy. There are roughly 3,000 infants born with the condition each year and some 500 pre-school age children acquire cerebral palsy annually.