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Cerebral Palsy: Overview

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Cerebral palsy (pronounced suh-REE-bruhl or SER-uh-bruhl PAWL-zee) describes 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. These physical disabilities are permanent but do not usually get worse over time. The condition is caused by damage to parts of the brain that control movement, balance, and posture.

The 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.

Although the NICHD research portfolio includes work on cerebral palsy, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke leads research on cerebral palsy at the NIH and offers comprehensive information on cerebral palsy through its website. Learn more about the Strategic Plan for Cerebral Palsy Research.

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Common Name

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Birth injury

Medical or Scientific Name

  • Cerebral palsy
  • CP
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