According to the National Center for Health Statistics (CDC Branch), in 2021, over 3 million babies were born in the US. Babies being born is supposed to be a joyous occasion. However, for some parents, that joy turns into sadness and worry for their child because of cerebral palsy. Cerebral Palsy is a childhood disorder that affects approximately 10,000 babies a year.
Cerebral Palsy does not just affect babies but also school-going children. According to statistics, over 1,000 children are diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy annually. This article will discuss the trends and statistics concerning Cerebral Palsy so we can understand it better. So, without further ado, let’s begin.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that occur early in a child’s life. They can affect the child’s ability to maintain good posture and balance. In addition, it also affects their ability to move. Unnatural brain development or damage to the brain during development is what causes CP.
CP’s symptoms are different for everyone. The severity of the symptoms is dependent upon the severity of CP. For example, in cases of severe CP, some can walk with special equipment, and some cannot walk at all and require life care. In cases of mild CP, people can walk without help. However, it will be awkward.
CP is often a result of mistakes committed by doctors. These mistakes are often preventable, which is unfortunate because if doctors do not prevent them, they can cause irreparable damage. If your child was a victim of medical negligence, you are eligible for a payout. You can talk with lawyers specializing in medical negligence lawsuits to see if you can file a lawsuit. If you are nervous about preparing for trial, your lawyers can help and tell you what to expect.
Cerebral Palsy Trends 2022: Emerging Treatments
New Medical Device:
As of right now, CP has no cure. However, there are effective treatments that can help manage the symptoms. For example, scientists are testing a new medical device to treat muscle spasticity by stimulating spinal nerve circuits. Consequently, these circuits will stop the ones causing spasticity. Experts hope the device can replace invasive and risky treatment methods with side effects.
Deep Brain Stimulation:
Scientists are also testing out another treatment known as deep brain stimulation. They believe it can help with dystonia. Dystonia can cause involuntary muscle contraction that can be repetitive or twisting movements. The treatment process requires electrodes in the patient’s brain through surgery. These electrodes will send electrical signals to parts of the brain affected by dystonia to treat it. There is research that deep brain stimulation can work. However, the surgery has risks, especially for children.
Botox injections are another treatment method for treating CP symptoms such as hypertonic muscles. People with hypertonic muscles struggle with balance, walking, and extending their limbs because of stiffness. Botox injections can temporarily paralyze these hypertonic muscles so the patient can relax.
Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell therapy is quickly becoming a household name in medicine. Doctors are using it to treat various illnesses, including CP. Stem cell therapy works by regenerating damaged cell tissue wherever there is damage. The latest research has given great hope to scientists. They believe they can use stem cell therapy to revitalize the damaged brain cells in CP patients.
Scientists are conducting clinical trials by treating children with CP with cord blood infusions. Results have been impressive so far, with no side effects. Some experts hope that, in the future, stem cell therapy can eventually cure CP altogether.
Cerebral Palsy Stats 2022
CP is a condition that lasts a lifetime. And because of this, it requires extensive lifetime care. Common issues with CP can include cognitive problems, hearing damage, vision loss, and seizures. Treatments for these conditions can cost you a hefty amount.
According to research, CP medical costs for children are ten times higher. In addition, medical expenses for children diagnosed with CP and an intellectual disability are over 20 times higher. All in all, you can spend over $1,000,000 on medical care over a lifetime.
According to research by the American Academy of Pediatrics, CP risk is high in extremely pre-term babies. In addition, pre-term babies can also suffer from lack of development, cognitive disability, epilepsy, and vision and hearing problems, among others. In addition, CP risk is higher in twins and triplets than in single babies. According to the National Library of Medicine’s research, the prevalence of CP in twins, triplets, and quadruplets (born after 1977) was:
- Close to 1 percent in twins (1410 twins)
- Over 3 percent in triplets (287 triplets)
- Over 11 percent in quadruplets (27 quadruplets)
Furthermore, NLM’s research showed that risks of CP in at least one child increased with the number of babies during pregnancies. As the stats show:
- Over 1 percent risk of CP in twin births
- 8 percent risk of CP in triplet births
- Over 42 percent risk of CP in quadruplet births
In addition, maternal infections can modestly increase the risk of CP in infants. It is because maternal infections can overproduce cytokines. Overproduction of Cytokine can cause inflammation and brain damage.
Currently, CP is the most commonly diagnosed health condition in the United States. Over 700,000 people (adults and children) in the United States suffer from at least one symptom of CP. In addition, CP is more common in boys than girls. Also, over 75 percent of children with CP suffer from spasticity.
Furthermore, one in over 300 children suffers from CP, as reported by the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM). In addition, the CDC’s ADDM states that black children with CP are almost 2x more likely to need help walking or cannot walk at all.
Cerebral Palsy affects infants and children and lasts a lifetime. Unnatural brain development and brain damage during development are the primary causes of CP. Symptoms depend on the severity of CP; the more severe the illness, the more severe the symptoms, and vice versa. Currently, CP has no cure. However, emerging treatments like deep brain stimulation, botox injections, and stem cell therapy can help manage the symptoms.