Cerebral palsy is a group of neurological disorders that begin in infancy or early childhood and that primarily affect body movement but, in more severe cases, may also be associated with intellectual disabilities.
NICHD conducts and supports research relevant to cerebral palsy, including studies of the mechanisms of brain injuries, of ways to prevent the condition, and of new treatments and rehabilitative approaches.
Cerebral palsy is a group of brain disorders that affect muscles and body movement. The condition is caused by damage to parts of the brain that control muscle movement, balance, and posture.
There are several types of cerebral palsy, classified by the kind of movement affected, the body parts affected, and how severe the symptoms are.
Symptoms of cerebral palsy vary in type, can range from mild to severe, and can change over time. Symptoms are different for each person, depending on the areas of the brain that have been affected.
The early signs of cerebral palsy include developmental delays, abnormal muscle tone, and abnormal posture.
Cerebral palsy is caused by damage or abnormal development in the parts of the brain that control movement.
Some events or medical problems during pregnancy can increase the risk of congenital cerebral palsy, including low birth weight or preterm birth, multiple gestations, and infertility treatments.
A healthcare provider may find signs of cerebral palsy during a well-baby or well-child visit examination. He or she may then refer the child to specialists for an accurate diagnosis.