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Case Studies on Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is not a new disorder in terms of existence, but rather in knowledge of the condition. In fact, there have probably been children with cerebral palsy since the beginning of human existence. However, the medical profession did not begin to study cerebral palsy as a distinct medical condition until 1861. It was in that year, an English orthopedic surgeon, Dr. William John Little, published the first paper describing the neurological problems of children with spastic diplegia, and one of the first case studies on cerebral palsy.

Fortunately, in the past few decades, information on the many aspects of cerebral palsy has significantly increased due to case studies. Today, the medical community has great interest in studying cerebral palsy to determine its causes and the most effective ways to treat it. As knowledge and treatment techniques have expanded and improved through case studies on cerebral palsy, so too have the prospects of all children with cerebral palsy.

Cerebral Palsy is a brain injury often associated with premature birth, poor circulation and low oxygen tension. This condition can manifest itself by a delay in physical development with high muscle tone (spasticity), low muscle tone (hypotonia), or both. Case studies on cerebral palsy have shown hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) can help these complications by increasing the amount of oxygen dissolved in the plasma and reinvigorate once dormant brain cells.

In one of the case studies on cerebral palsy, a four-year-old girl began HBO2 treatment and in one month received 40 HBO2 sessions. HBO2 sessions typically last from about 1 hour to 90 minutes. Before beginning HBO2 the child was monosyllabic, and her parents had trouble getting her stiff arms into her coat sleeves. Only twenty-five treatments later she was able to turn the pages of a magazine by herself. After returning home she soon learned to ride a tricycle and is now able to speak a string of five words at a time. She is learning to speak two languages, English and German, and will continue HBO2 treatment.

Another of the case studies on cerebral palsy was a seven-year-old boy who prior to receiving hyperbaric treatment was mostly non-verbal, very spastic and could barely use his walker. In school he used an electric wheelchair. After he completed 40 sessions of HBO2 his vocabulary is greatly improved, and he has developed a real sense of humor. He laughs, is starting to play tricks and is much better with his walker. After he received another 50 treatments several months later, he learned to ride a bicycle. He is now taking horseback riding lessons, another area of treatment involved in performing case studies on cerebral palsy.

Also referred to as hippotherapy, horseback riding therapy is also a relatively new method being analyzed for case studies on cerebral palsy. A 2-year-old girl with delayed judgment, cooperation skills and impulse control began hippotherapy treatment, and at the beginning, her vocalizations were seldom and it was difficult for her to express herself. She was using approximately 20 signs to communicate with others.

She had significant fine motor coordination deficits, required maximum assistance to climb stairs, and was dependent on a single limb stance. She also experienced shortened heel cords and was awaiting fitting for bilateral ankle-foot orthosis. She required maximum assistance for all activities of daily living with the exception of self-feeding. She could eat finger foods independently, and required moderate assistance to feed herself with a fork and spoon.

When she began treatment they utilized slow tempo, subtle and slow direction changes on a solid surface, and upper extremity activities, which promoted increased postural alignment. All transitions were done on a stationary base. Slowly and with purpose, she has been challenged beyond her base of support to develop increased strength and balance. She is now able to go up and down four steps using one rail and one hand-held assistance. She verbalizes spontaneously and answers simple questions with good volume. She can walk 5-7 steps independently on level ground and requires only some hand-held assistance on uneven surfaces for safety. Her mother reports improvements in the child’s strength, balance, coordination and verbalizations. She indicates that there was a noticeable difference in her postural control during the summer months when she was not receiving hippotherapy and believes that treatment has had lasting effects.

Case studies on cerebral palsy show that various forms of treatment are available and depending on the severity of the child’s condition, can provide various levels of effectiveness. Consulting with your child’s medical practitioners can provide more information on possible case studies on cerebral palsy that your child can benefit from.

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