(Stevens, 2005, 508)
The uniqueness of this disease is that it exhibits itself differently from case to case. This is best exemplified through the wide range and breadth of motor skill limitations experienced by each individual patient.
Once believed that the onset of Cerebral Palsy was a direct result of complications which occurred at birth or during the labor process prior to birth, much new research is offering alternate areas for study. The cause of Cerebral Palsy still remains unknown by advances it research have led to several promising areas deserving further research. The difficulty in diagnosing this disease in a timely fashion lies within the very roots of the congenital disease itself. Al though signs of Cerebral Palsy may be exhibited at or shortly after birth, at other times no symptoms may be evident until years later, making early diagnosis almost impossible. What has been shown through research thus far is that there are various 'warning' signs that place the infant in a high risk category for Cerebral Palsy. In examining Cerebral Palsy, researchers have found that the various warning signs exhibit themselves differently patient by patient. However, as stated above, certain symptoms displayed merit further testing to confirm the presence of this disease. Suspected causes for contraction of this disease thought to originate during the prenatal period include:
Anoxia due to a problem with the umbilical cord
Maternal infection such as rubella, Xoplasmosis, herpes simplex
Metabolic disorders in the mother such as diabetes, a heart condition, hyperthyroidism, severe asthma
Abdominal injury during pregnancy
Absence or lack of prenatal care (Gibson, MacLennan, Goldwater & Dekker, 2003, 212)
In addition, to prenatal risk factors associated with Cerebral Palsy, there are also additional warning signs associated with the Perinatal period which may be indicative of a predisposition for contraction of the disease. These include:
Anoxia due to problems with the umbilical cord
Asphyxia due to a mechanical respiratory obstruction
Analgesics (the administering of drugs affecting the respiratory system)
Trauma: to the head during labor/ delivery, hemorrhage, forceps application, poor position of the infant, breech delivery
Pressure changes: being delivered too fast or too slow
Prematurity and complications at birth, respiratory distress, and very low birth weight are well recognized risk factors for development of CP. (Gibson et al, 2003, 213)
In addition to the warning signs listed above for the possible predisposition of congenital Cerebral Palsy research has shown that there are factor which may be indicative of acquired Cerebral Palsy as well. These include:
- Trauma to the head such as a wound or fracture resulting in injury to the brain.
Infections of the nervous system such as high fevers, meningitis, encephalitis, and brain abscess.
Vascular problems of the brain such as thrombosis or hemorrhage.
Anoxia due to strangulation, carbon monoxide poisoning, smoke inhalation, and near drowning.
Neoplasm's of the brain such as cysts, tumors and hydrocephalus.
(Gibson et al, 2003, 213)
It should be noted new research is undermining the