The term cerebral palsy (CP) is the set of a variety of chronic symptoms that have non-progressors, which relate to human movement disorders. These movement disorders are the result of damage of the structures of the central nervous system, which is formed during the prenatal period – that is, during pregnancy.
Disorders affect cortical structures, subcortical areas, capsule and brainstem. Sometimes cerebral palsy is confused with infantile paralysis, which represent a set of disorders that develop as a result of poliomyelitis. Cerebral palsy was diagnosed and studied for the first time at the beginning of the XIX century by British physician, Little by name. Subsequently, this form of cerebral palsy was called “Little’s disease“.
The British believed that the reason lied in the pathological cerebral palsy during birth when the child is experiencing severe hypoxia. However, subsequently, Sigmund Freud also studied cerebral palsy, and hypothesized that the cause of the cerebral paralysis lies in the damaged structures of the central nervous system in the period of utero. This assumption was confirmed in the 1980s of the XX century. Freud made an excellent classification of the forms of cerebral palsy, on which all the modern classifications were set up.
General characteristics of cerebral palsy
If we talk about cerebral palsy, there is a variety of movement disorders. By the maximum muscle structure is destroyed, first of all violations of motor coordination are identified. Violations of motor activity are formed due to lesions of the brain structures. The volume and localization of brain lesions determine the nature, form and severity of muscular disorders.
Volume and specific area of brain damage in a person with cerebral palsy determines the form of muscle disease, which can be single or combined. Basic muscle disorders in cerebral palsy are presented with the following options: muscle tension; spasmodic contraction of the muscles; various movements of involuntary nature; gait disturbance; limited mobility. In addition to violations of motor activity, cerebral palsy may be associated with abnormalities of vision, hearing and speech activity. Very often, cerebral palsy is combined with various forms of epilepsy and mental disorders and mental development. Also, children have disorders of perception and sensation.
As a result of these violations, people with cerebral palsy have some problems in the process of food, involuntary urination and excretion of feces, difficulties with breathing process due to incorrect position of the body, the formation of pressure ulcers and difficulties in perceiving information that affects learning.
Cerebral Palsy is not progressive, because the damage of the brain structures is limited by a point – it does not extend, and does not capture new areas of nerve tissue. In the process of growth and maturation of the child it may seem that that the paralysis progresses, but it is not. Impression of cerebral palsy progression is caused by growing up of a child, his learning difficulties and more clearly labeled symptoms, which are less visible until the baby does not start to go, eat etc.