Cerebral palsy

published in the Republican December 2020

Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that affect movement and muscle tone.  It is usually caused by damage to the brain during or before birth.  Cerebral palsy can range from mild to severe disability.

For example, it can cause impaired movement, loss of control over limbs, rigid muscles, abnormal posture, involuntary movement, unsteady walking andbalance issues.

The National Institutes of Health conducted a study that was published in the journal Nature Genetics.  The study found that fourteen percent of cerebral palsy cases might be linked to genetics.  Michael Kruer, a neurogeneticist at the PhoenixChildren’s Hospital and the University of Arizona College of Medicine, said, “Our results provide the strongest evidence to date that a significant portion of cerebral palsy cases can be linked to rare genetic mutations, and in doing so identified several key genetic pathways involved.”

As the study goes on, it has been determined that many of the genes are important to the brain wiring.  These genes are involved in the early stages of development and may be linked to intellectual disabilities, autism or epilepsy.  Kruer also stated, “We hope this study can give peace of mind to parents who may have been told over the years that there must have been some kind of problem during the pregnancy or delivery to cause their child to have cerebral palsy.  Our study has implications for genetic counseling for parents who have a child with cerebral palsy, in helping determine the chances of a second child being similarly affected.”

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