Cerebral paralysis is also known as CP for short. The condition was discovered by the British surgeon named William Little in 1860. His discovery led to the study and formulation of theories with regards to asphyxia at birth as the main cause of the problem. It is one of the most prevalent yet enigmatic disorders known in the medical world today is cerebral palsy, but hoping to get a glimpse into cerebral palsy will help people understand why it happens and what can be done to deal with it.
But it was only in 1897 that famed psychoanalyst and now the Father of Psychology Sigmund Freud pushed for the idea that a difficult birthing is not the true cause of cerebral paralysis. Then a neurologist, Freud said that the problem may have been a symptom and an effect of a far more complex problem on fetal development. He was right and the condition is one of the effects of what is called cerebral palsy.
The Cause of Cerebral Palsy
But despite the years of research and the ongoing debate on the subject, no one still knows even now what exactly causes cerebral palsy. Nothing is ever certain when it comes to this problem. This is despite the fact that a lot of findings point fingers to problems caused by a lack of oxygen during fetal development. Some also include exposure to radiation, internal infection during pregnancy and trauma in the brain during childbirth and delivery as some of the other causes of cerebral palsy.
However, these are just some of the causes but are not necessarily the main and primary reasons for cerebral-palsy. No less than 50% of all children born prematurely are believed to develop cerebral palsy upon their delivery. Medical experts believe that premature infants are vulnerable to cerebral-palsy, in part because their organs have not yet fully developed when they were born, thus increasing the risk of hypoxic injury due to the lack of oxygen circulation to the brain that is largely responsible for those studied with cerebral palsy.
Common Types of Cerebral Palsy
There are basically three common types of cerebral palsy, first is the spastic where someone with spastic cerebral-palsy does not have the capacity to relax their muscles or may even be stiff. Next is Athetoid, for which those with this type of cerebral-palsy affects the patient’s ability to control their muscles, which is usually characterized by the patient’s hands and feet fluttering uncontrollably.
And the one with ataxic cerebral palsy has problems with balance and coordination. Cerebral-palsy ranges from mild to severe cases, which may be characterized by the amount or degree of brain trauma or damage of the patient, however, is not generally conclusive about the actual cause of cerebral-palsy.
Neurologists are the primary specialists that deal with patients afflicted with cerebral palsy, through which patients are commonly diagnosed with the analysis and assessment of the patient’s nervous system. For young patients, especially for children with cerebral palsy, they are most commonly treated by pediatric neurologists.
The Treatment Solution
Treatment for young patients with cerebral palsy may also undergo therapeutic treatment by a pediatric orthopedist that will be responsible for handling problems with joints and bones. This is followed up with treatment from a developmental pediatrician, who usually monitors how young cerebral palsy patients throughout their developmental stage and by a pediatric physciatrist who treats children with disabilities.
So basically this is a good glimpse into cerebral-palsy that may provide us with key and important information regarding cerebral-palsy and how to better understand it.
Why Malnutrition is Common in Children with Cerebral Palsy?
Children with cerebral palsy do not only have problems with their motor skills. This can, actually, be defined or referred to as insufficient growth and development. Children with cerebral-palsy would often experience difficulty in eating. Difficulties would include unable to swallow, hyperactive gag reflex, and inability to control feeding. These challenges could be factors on why most children with cerebral-palsy are malnourished.
There are several issues or reasons why children with cerebral palsy find it difficult to eat. For example, the mouth and the throat of a person could be affected by cerebral-palsy making it difficult for patients to eat. Others would find it difficult to control their tongue. In some cases these could end up choking the patient when their food is directed towards on the tracheas down to the lungs.
There are also some who does not want to be touched on the face, lips and mouth. This could also affect whenever you are feeding the patient. Because of the numerous problems on feeding, it takes a while before children with cerebral palsy would finish their food. A longer time and process of feeding would totally tire the children; therefore more calories were being burned.
There are researches from the University of California, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, showing the malnutrition has become a common problem among patients of cerebral palsy. In the research, it was stated that in severe cases of cerebral-palsy, malnutrition is evident. But in less severe cases of cerebral palsy, malnutrition is barely noticeable.
What is malnutrition in children?
Malnutrition is a condition where the body does not gain enough vitamins, nutrients and minerals that the body needs. Malnutrition is not only about being undernourished, there are also cases of malnutrition where the body is over nourished.
Lack of nutrition while the baby is undergoing fetal development can be a risk factor for cerebral palsy. If the baby is not getting enough nutrition, there could be problems with the brain development. Therefore, even if the baby is still in the stomach, it is very important to eat foods that will provide sufficient vitamins and nutrients. This would help lessen the risk of any abnormalities.
It is important to treat or address malnutrition immediately. When unnoticed and unattended, malnutrition could even lead to making their conditions worse and in worst cases, could even lead to death.
What can we do about it?
There are different ways to address malnutrition for cerebral palsy patients. It may be necessary for parents to give nutritional supplements. A speech therapist is also somebody who can help about malnutrition . A speech therapist helps the patient to have more control with the mouth muscles. This would help the individual to intake more food.
Treatment could also involve the use of support systems and other devices. For example, there are surgical procedures that can done like inserting gastronomy tubes which would allow the children to have more feeding. For those children who are finding it hard to grasp other objects, larger eating utensils can be given to them so that would be able to wait for the laptop.
There are about 35% of children with cerebral palsy who are malnourished. This is a very important issue and needs to be addressed. Problems like this with feeding and nutrition can even worsen the children’s condition.