Types of cerebral palsy

Pediatrician Wendy Mitchell, MD Neurology, explains the different types of cerebral palsy and the characteristics that distinguish each type
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Types of cerebral palsy

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Cerebral Palsy is a chronic motor deficit caused by an early injury to the brain. There are lots of kinds of Cerebral Palsy and there are lots of causes of Cerebral Palsy. Some children with Cerebral Palsy was caused by the lack of oxygen to the brain, either in utero, after birth, or an illness after birth. For example, someone who has a cardiac arrest. Someone who has the same type of motor problem from an injury that happened at age ten, may look very similar, but we don't generally call that Cerebral Palsy. We divide Cerebral Palsy into two, both the type of movement and the distribution. For example, spacticity is an increase in tone, abnormal reflexes and abnormal tendon reflexes. Coriathetosis is an abnormal movement that tends to be writhing or twisting. Ataxia is an unsteadiness. So people will talk about Coriathetoid Cerebral Palsy, Spastic Cerebral Palsy, then we talk about the distribution in the body. A common type is called diplegic, where pretty much the legs are involved, not the arms or the bulbar muscles or swallowing. We talk about Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy where everything is involved. We talk about Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy where one side is involved. It's classified by the type of movement and the distribution of movement.

Pediatrician Wendy Mitchell, MD Neurology, explains the different types of cerebral palsy and the characteristics that distinguish each type

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Wendy Mitchell, MD

Pediatrician, Neurology, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Wendy Mitchell, MD, is Professor of Clinical Neurology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California. She is acting Division Head of Neurology at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, where she has practiced for over 30 years. She is a native of Los Angeles. Her current research interests include cognitive and behavioral aspects of childhood epilepsy, clinical research in anticonvulsants, and a rare immune-mediated syndrome, opsoclonus-myoclonus (or dancing eyes syndrome). In her free time she enjoys scuba diving and yoga.

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