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Cerebral palsy is not a disorder with a single cause, but rather a group of disorders with associated problems regarding control of movement, with a variety of causes. With the multiple possible causes of cerebral palsy, it is sometimes difficult to diagnose the root of the condition.
Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the nerve cells in the motor control center of the brain. Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to one or more specific areas of the brain during periods of brain development, commonly caused by hypoxia, and also referred to as lack of oxygen. The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain, responsible for higher mental faculties, sensations and voluntary muscle activities, and is usually affected by hypoxia.
When is cerebral palsy hypoxia induced? If brain cells do not receive enough oxygen they may die. Brain cells are extremely sensitive to oxygen deprivation. Some brain cells start dying less than five minutes after their oxygen supply is cut. As a result, brain hypoxia can kill or cause severe brain damage rapidly. When the neurons in this region die, proper signals can no longer be sent to the muscles under their control. This results in poor muscle control, ultimately exhibiting the signs of cerebral palsy. Causes of cerebral palsy can be traced to injury of the cerebrum or under-development of the cerebrum, where you can find cerebral palsy hypoxia induced.
In order for find cerebral palsy hypoxia induced, a clinical history and examination is necessary. Testing is usually targeted at determining the cause of hypoxia. Studies may include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which provides high-quality pictures of the brain, electrocardiogram (EKG) to test of the electrical activity of the brain, blood tests, electroencephalogram (EEG) to test brain waves, and a test called Evoked Potentials that determines whether certain sensations like vision and touch reach the brain, causing an electric response. In cooperation with your general practitioner, a neurologist should direct the sequence of tests depending on the child’s current state.
After years of clinical trials and the scrutinizing of the first medical observations and proposed causes of cerebral palsy made by Dr. William Little in the 1860’s, evidence has suggested that the incidence of cerebral palsy being hypoxia induced is less than first thought. The incidence of cerebral palsy hypoxia induced occurs in only about 10 percent of cases. Determining if cerebral palsy was hypoxia induced requires looking to outside influences, which would occur between three and six months prior to birth. MRI findings in congenital conditions reveal a thick cortex, however in trauma, the cortex becomes thin. Ultrasound is preferred over MRI in the first 24 hours after birth; thereafter, MRI should be used in a serial fashion over several years.
Determining if cerebral palsy was hypoxia induced versus other causes is an area of growing diagnostic importance. In general, differentiation requires magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound tests interpreted by a highly trained radiologist. Unfortunately, state-of-the-art technology for neonatal interpretations has a limited number of experts.