Care Improvements Lead to Declining Cerebral Palsy Birth Rates: Study

The chances of a child being born with cerebral palsy has plunged over the last two decades as perinatal medical care has improved, according to the findings of a new study. 

Researchers from the Netherlands studied the rate of children born with cerebral palsy since 2000 and published their findings in the Journal of Pediatrics. They found a significant decrease in all forms of cerebral palsy, attributing the improvements to decreases in incidents of cystic periventricular leukomalacia (c-PVL) and intraventricular hemorrhage. The researchers gave credit to improvements in antenatal antibiotics, the use of arterial lines and Caesarian sections, among others.

The study looked at the premature births of 3,000 infants from 1990 to 2005. Overall, the researchers discovered that the rate of cerebral palsy decreased from 6.5% of births in 1990 to as low as 2.2% by 2005.

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Cerebral palsy can be caused by a brain injury that occurs before, during or shortly after birth. If the brain of a baby is deprived of oxygen, it can result in irreversible damage that leaves the child with developmental problems, loss of motor functions and other life-long injuries and disabilities associated with cerebral palsy.

Although cerebral palsy can occur without a medical mistake, when the exercise of the proper standards of medical care could have prevented the child’s brain from being deprived of oxygen, medical malpractice lawsuits over cerebral palsy may provide compensation for the child’s disability.

Symptoms of cerebral palsy are commonly associated with seizures, sensory impairments and cognitive limitation, and can range from mild cerebral palsy to a severe disability.


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