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What is Cerebral Palsy?

New York residents might want to learn more about what cerebral palsy is and what factors increase the likelihood of this neurological disorder. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, CP tends to occur during birth or in a child's early years due to brain damage or abnormal brain development. Although the disorder does not worsen over time, it permanently impairs a child's motor functions and muscle coordination.

Between 85 and 90 percent of all CP cases are congenital, meaning that damage to the brain occurred sometime before or during birth. Though there is no specific cause, factors that increase the probability of CP include low birth weight, jaundice and kernicterus, birth complications, infections that occurred during pregnancy and premature birth. Additionally, a pregnancy that resulted from an infertility treatment could also increase the odds of a child developing CP. In most cases, signs of CP may appear before the child reaches the age of three.

Despite the low percentage, some children who suffer brain damage more than four weeks after birth could acquire CP. This type of CP could result from brain infections like meningitis or encephalitis, head trauma suffered from a car accident, or problems with blood flowing to the brain.

Treatment for cerebral palsy may be costly, and parents of children who suffer from this disorder may face significant expenses if their child requires lifelong or extensive care. If this disorder occurred due to a doctor's negligent actions, parents may have the option of filing a lawsuit against that health care provider or the hospital that employed him or her.

Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, "NINDS Cerebral Palsy Information Page"

Source: CDC, "Causes and Risk Factors of Cerebral Palsy", October 14, 2014

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