Study Suggests Cerebral Palsy Children Report Similar Quality of Life To Others

Although children with cerebral palsy may be severely limited by disability and experience pain associated with the condition, a new report indicates that most adolescents with the disorder report having similar quality of life compared to their counterparts who do not suffer from the disability.

In a study published in the medical journal The Lancet on October 7, European researchers outlined the findings of a survey of youths with and without cerebral palsy.

In most areas, researchers found those with cerebral palsy lived as happy and fulfilling a life as their peers. However, those suffering severe pain and disability suffered in some areas, particularly in the social support category.

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Researchers looked at the survey and other data on children between the ages of 8 and 12 with cerebral palsy between 2004 and 2009, and then checked back with them when they were 13 to 17. The report included 355 adolescents with CP.

The study scored quality of life based on questions involving psychological well being, self-perception, parental relationships, school life, financial resources, moods and emotions, autonomy, social support and peers, and social acceptance.

Researchers found that those with cerebral palsy overall only had significantly lower quality of life in the domain of social support and peers. However, they also determined that those with severe mobility problems and with chronic pain did experience a reduced quality of life.

“Adolescents with cerebral palsy need particular help to maintain and develop peer relationships,” they concluded. “Interventions in childhood to alleviate psychological difficulties, parenting stress, and especially pain, are justified for their intrinsic value and for their longer term effect on adolescent [quality of life].”

Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that is usually attributed to brain damage suffered before, during or shortly after birth. If the child’s brain is deprived of oxygen around the time of birth, it can result in irreversible damage that leaves the child with developmental problems, loss of motor functions and other life-long injuries and disabilities.

While there is no cure for the disorder, earlier diagnosis may increase the treatment options and the likelihood that the severity of cerebral palsy may be reduced, resulting in permanent improvements in quality of life for the child.

In many cases, cerebral palsy was caused by a birth injury or medical mistake that may have been prevented by the exercise of the proper standards of medical care. In many of those cases, families may be able to pursue financial compensation for the child through a cerebral palsy malpractice lawsuit.


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