Cerebral palsy (CP) – causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment & pathology


It’s pretty well-established that your brain’s
really important. It’s like, if your body was a computer, your brain’s the mainframe.
It controls everything, whether you’re aware of it or not. Cerebral palsy means “brain
disease causing paralysis”; so essentially, cerebral palsy refers to damage to the brain
that causes loss of muscle control, like for example if the cerebellum was damaged, patients
might have issues with fine motor skills like using writing or typing. That being said,
though, cerebral palsy’s a broad umbrella term to basically cover a wide variety of
issues, since ultimately the muscles affected and severity depends on which part of the
mainframe’s been affected, right? Cerebral palsy’s considered a neurodevelopmental
disease, meaning that something happens to an area of the brain during its initial development,
which is an extremely sensitive period. If that area doesn’t develop right, then it
can’t carry out whatever function it’s supposed to control. What’s this vague “something” that can
happen, though? Well, I said “something” because there’s such a wide variety of causes.
The majority of cerebral palsy cases are thought to happen before birth, or prenatally, which
typically means the underlying cause is really hard to pin down. Exposure to radiation and
infection during fetal development can cause cerebral palsy. Hypoxia to the developing
fetus been linked as well, in this case the developing brain doesn’t get enough oxygen,
potentially from problems like the placenta not being able to supply enough oxygen and
nutrients. Cerebral palsy doesn’t have to happen prenatally, though, and some postnatal
causes are things like head trauma, or again an infection or a period of oxygen deprivation.
Although most cases are likely are due to some trauma or injury, a very small proportion
of cases are due to a genetic mutation. Even though the brain damage or injury or abnormality
is permanent, one super important point about cerebral palsy is that it doesn’t get worse
over time, and for that reason it’s considered a non-progressive disease. Cerebral palsy is classified by the type of
muscle movements that result from the brain injury and how that affects what activities
the patient can perform. The first type is called spastic cerebral palsy, which accounts
for about 70% of cases, and this is characterized by having really tight or stiff muscles, which
can make patients’ movements seem jerky. This tightness results from a lesion in an
upper motor neuron. So with a lesion, which just means some kind of abnormality, the ability
of some of these neurons to receive GABA might be impaired. GABA’s the main inhibitory
neurotransmitter, so if nerve impulses can’t be inhibited which is a double negative, then
those nerves are basically over-excited, leading to hypertonia, which is an abnormal increase
in muscle activity, basically like if the muscles were constantly flexed. This is why
some people with spastic cerebral palsy have a scissor gait. Think about how hard it’d
be to walk when your adductor muscles were always partly flexed, which causes your knees
and thighs to constantly touch. Similarly, sometimes patients have a “toe-walk”,
because their calves are always flexed, which pulls the achilles tendon up and causes someone
to go up on their toes. A second type of cerebral palsy is Athetoid
or dyskinetic cerebral palsy, and this one involves damage or injury to the basal ganglia.
The basal ganglia is this structure here which essentially helps us initiate and prevent
certain movements. If the basal ganglia becomes damaged, patients can lose the ability to
prevent movements, and therefore they can have involuntary movements, meaning out of
their control. So dyskinetic cerebral palsy is characterized by dystonia and/or chorea—dystonia
is random, slow, and uncontrolled movements in the limbs and trunk. Chorea is random “dance-like”
movements, since the small uncontrolled movements seem to move from muscle to muscle. Finally there’s ataxic cerebral palsy. Taxis
refers to an order or arrangement, so ataxic essentially means without order, which is
in reference to patients with this type being shaky or uncoordinated, and this is caused
by damage to the cerebellum, which helps with coordination and fine or precise movements.
These patients often have clumsy or unstable movements and poor balance when doing things
like walking or picking something up. Although different from patient to patient,
many patients with muscle control issues have other symptoms as well. Patients often experience
pain from tightened muscles or abnormal posture and stiff joints. Also, abnormal movements
might make it difficult to sleep at night and patients can develop sleep disorders.
Eating can become difficult as well, which can range from the preparation of food to
the action of chewing and swallowing food. Other brain-related issues are also associated,
like difficulties with speaking and communication, vision problems, and learning disabilities. Since cerebral palsy involves a permanent
abnormality to the brain’s structure, it’s not curable, but that doesn’t mean it’s
not treatable. Treatment for cerebral palsy usually involves a multidisciplinary approach,
pulling from a number of clinical specialties like neurologists, rehabilitation specialists,
occupational therapists, speech therapists, and others—hopefully to find a unique approach
for each patient, ultimately improving their quality of life. Physical therapy can be used
to build strength and improve walking ability, along with stretching to reduce contracture,
which is a permanent shortening of muscle tissue from being hypertonic or contracted
for so long. Sometimes muscle relaxants are given or botulinum toxin is injected into
certain muscles to reduce hypertonicity and relax the muscles, which can both help reduce
pain associated with hypertonus and also help fit patients with specific orthotic braces.
Sometimes surgery might also be performed to help with a variety of issues, like loosening
tight muscles, straightening out bones that have been subject to abnormal muscle forces
over time, and cutting certain nerves to reduce their associated movements
or spasms.

100 thoughts on “Cerebral palsy (CP) – causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment & pathology

  1. In 1974 they doctors discovered that I had a mild case of C.P. (Spastic on the left side of my body.) My hand stays clamp and I cannot flex the left foot. At the age of three I took ballet for a time and tumbling. I enjoyed very much. Age nine started taking occupational therapy and physical. But I suffered with epilepsy seizures, which were Petit- Mal Seizures. It consisted of muscle spasm on one side of the body, I was completely conscious through the process. I thank God that I no longer have them. My birthday just passed and now I'm Forty-six, and I am taking one at time.

  2. Im 14 and have cp, my doctor said i would not be to walk or talk but i can run 100 yards in a half a minute and read aloud books with 10th grade reading level, God is with me and helping me everyday, if a doctor speaks negative about your cp just dont believe it, pray that you will get better, in the bible read Matthew 19:26 and 8:17. God bless you have a wonder day. (Edit)
    I never thought my comment would get this many rellies or likes, I'm glad you guys are glad y'all are going through y'alls life with disabilities.

  3. This is definitely becoming my FAVORITE YouTube learning channel !! You have covered most of the topics included in our lectures in a very simple,yet informative way!
    Brilliant channel I will definitely recommend you to my friends.
    Thank you for your amazing work

  4. my granddaughter is 20 she was diagnosed with tbi at birth when they used a vacuum to deliver her. I've been told that she has brain atrophy and that her brain has shrunk leaving a large amount of fluid. I would like to know more about this and what is her prognosis.

  5. Is it necessary that if MRI IS normal a person must have cp
    Bxoz i think if the patient is cp then mri shuld not be 100 percent correct?
    What do u think

  6. My doctor was about to leave the hospital then he got called in bc I was born and my lungs had collapsed and he was the only one who knew how to use the machines in the hospital bc the nurses had never used them and if he had left I would be dead rn I'm so happy he was there and I am so grateful that he was there aswell.

  7. Consider that while brain damage doesn't get worse, symptoms increase as the people with CP age. Remember that most or all of the therapies for CP are aimed at children and that quality of life can markedly decrease once the child turns 18 and isn't eligible for the support that they had before.

  8. I dident have enough oxygen to the brain and yes I was born with mild cevral palsy too and this video is good it helps me understand why and what my brain is like

  9. well what is like we'll for me it's like a driving for se that won't stop cas or as I call it a hidden disablity if you saw me I look like eny one else but I have sruggles I call it I have trouble understanding things and I have a learning disablity and a vison one to and if I read something it has to be simple English I was in programs all trow out high shcool and sometimes it's hard for me it's the memory too here's a example it take me longer to do stuff like tale the bus I don't now but I used to its not the bus I nkow what that is its that I don't get counfused and go the wrong way I know we all do that sometimes but when my cp is effected it's no good sometimes I wish I was born with out it but I think that I do things just differently

  10. well what is like we'll for me it's like a driving for se that won't stop cas or as I call it a hidden disablity if you saw me I look like eny one else but I have sruggles I call it I have trouble understanding things and I have a learning disablity and a vison one to and if I read something it has to be simple English I was in programs all trow out high shcool and sometimes it's hard for me it's the memory too here's a example it take me longer to do stuff like tale the bus I don't now but I used to its not the bus I nkow what that is its that I don't get counfused and go the wrong way I know we all do that sometimes but when my cp is effected it's no good sometimes I wish I was born with out it but I think that I do things just differently

  11. Please use a specefic term for defenition which is universly accepted like "It is dissorder of brain which is nonprogressive"

  12. I have spastic paraplegic cerebral palsy it's hard to cut food I also have problems with speech and walking I have a wheelchair and a cane for being legally blind in one eye my right is more affected then my left I'm a toe walker I've had 14 yeasts of physical therapy and 9 years of speech I have a severe speech impairment and several others

  13. Cerebral palsy is NOT a disease. How can an educational video make such a basic mistake? CP is caused by some kind of injury to a young brain. This is Google's definition of disease:

    Disease: a disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, especially one that produces specific signs or symptoms or that affects a specific location and is NOT A DIRECT RESULT OF PHYSICAL INJURY.

  14. I have cp which had occured ryt after my birth due to my injury crrated by my doctor.. my right hand is almost dead but i can still swim very well (i am a state level swimmer )

  15. I am 28 years old I have some trouble in my right side please tell me what its called. and how can I fully cure from this or close to fully cure

  16. I have CP on my whole right side of my body, it affects my right eye, right arm, and right leg. I have a lazy eye from it and i cud move both of my eyes like a chameleon lol weird but cool to me. I can bend my fingers back all the way to touch my wrist, but my brother says maybe I'm "triple-jointed" in my fingers but then I can't do it with my left hand fingers lol and my right leg is smaller than my left leg and u cud see it wen u look at it. My right side of my body is weaker then my left side.

  17. I'm 16 years old and struggling with cerebral palsy. It done damage that left my whole left side weak. I'm still undergoing treatment and have to wear braces on my legs

  18. I have a question about premative reflex … it's start from the first day of the child and it's continues to the first 6 month of his life … so my question is : if there is a damaged on the thalamus ( cortical cortex ) the control will back in the mid brain and premative reflex will come back again ???????????

  19. My daughter Vilena has cerebral palsy too. She is 13 y.o. She can walk and run. But epilepsy started at 10 y.o. It doesn't let her go to school anymore.

  20. Me and this guy have been flirting for a while, and sweetly, he informed me the he had cerebal palsy. He seemed almost scared that I wouldn't talk to him anymore. At first I will admit that I had no idea what it was, so he explained that he had a stroke as a baby & has seizers, along with the loss of movement and mobility in his right hand. It broke my heart alittle because it was almost like he was holding his breath and preparing for me to run. I told him that I didn't look at him any differently. I reinforced by truthfully saying, if he had "six fingers" on one hand, or a missing eyeball, I would still think he was handsome. This was all after I told him I was transgender. So I sort of knew what he was feeling. Guys usually dash when I tell them. But Love is unconditional. Love has no boundaries, gender, or form. It is there, for everyone and everything. My mom raised me to have the best heart I can have. So now, I'm just educating myself about the part of him that he was so scared to tell me about. He's sleeping rn. ✨ This information is alil intense, in the way of alot to take in and remember. I told him he is perfect, in every single way. Maybe he could be the one. We have a bright future ahead of us. Love should always be unconditional. Everyone deserves it. The world is full of beautiful, wonderful, amazing people. Follow your heart & mind. Physical abnormalities are nothing when you really like some one. ✨💞💫✨💫 Love y'all 💘💘💘💘 If he and I date I'll post a videos of our relationship. So stay tuned 💘💘💘

  21. my oldest brother and a few friends have CP. my brother has autism and other things from brain damage. he turned 29 yesterday and March is CP awareness month

  22. I have CP too my CP is not as strong only on one of my leg and im standing on my toes it does not hurt or anything im lucky the same happen on my dad too but he didnt have CP he had foot pain and had too go on HIS toes just almost the same thing

  23. I’m 24 and I have CP I was diagnosed when I was 3 and I don’t remember much about it or know much about but I remember the doctor telling my mom I would never be able to walk and thanks to the help of a physical therapist I can walk and what this video has taught me is I have ataxic cerebral palsy The only issue that I see that I have is I can’t keep my balance all the time

  24. This is an AWESOME video. My cousin has CP and I was always disappointed by how few quality explainer videos there were on youtube for CP. I'm a hobbyist filmmaker and animator and I thought it would be a great cause to create videos on youtube to explain what it is, what the treatments are, how to deal with it, etc.

    I just made my first video(!) and I'd LOVE some constructive feedback. I plan on making about 15 more of them, so PLEASE let me know what you think and if they indeed provide value to parents who want to learn more about the disability.

    Here is a link to the video: https://youtu.be/6o-g8vpWiIE

  25. I am a male cheerleader with moderate hemapolegic cerebral palsy on my left side and my goal is to show others that nothing can stop them. I'm a secondary base and I push myself every day and I have gotten my standing tuck to prove that nothing can get in your way

  26. I'd like to cite this video for a paper in APA style reference – does anyone know the personal name of the author who created it ? (aside from patreon)

  27. it's 2018, I have cp on my right side and am 11, no matter what the doc says you should keep your head up and keep praying because no matter what happenings we (the people with cp) can keep trying because we are as good or better than people without cp because we well keep trying to be the best that we can.

  28. I have cerebral palsy but I walk on my tippy toes a lot but I’ve been doing that since I was a baby and now I have crutches and leg braces

  29. These are literally my favorite videos to watch because they are just the right amount of informative without going over your head.. you guys are amazing, thank you so much for these videos.. they’re getting me through grad school

  30. I have CP. Both my legs.. but ive been living my life normally.. even tho i have a problem with public speaking.. i always shake..my hands, my feet.. i even shake while doing everyday things, holding a spoon,pencill,etc.. but im grateful i can still go to school and have tons of friends 🙂

  31. my daughter was born with cp deft and her brain stopped developing at the age of two. she was born 35 years ago and i still have a very hard time accepting what happened. in 1982 it was a much different time. so little suport for the parents i hope things are better for the parents of these precious children by now. God Bless

  32. Is no one talking about the fact that a lot of people with Cerebral Palsy can't walk and probably won't be able to? Just popped into my head, because that is what I have.

  33. I'm 13 and i have CP the doctors thought that i'm not longer than one month went to live
    Because i'm now 13 years old i can not talk and walk but i love my life.
    I sit in a adremo wheelchair with my talking computer and everybody think that i'm no quality for life
    I think different i have now a bad shape of scoliose. My parents do everything for me without them
    I was no longer there.

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