The Effects Multiple Births Have on Outcomes of Cerebral Palsy in Infants

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The Effects Multiple Births Have on Outcomes of Cerebral Palsy in Infants Cerebral palsy is typically characterized as a disorder caused by injuries to the cerebrum, the part of the brain responsible for higher mental functions, sensations, and voluntary muscle actions (7). Symptoms of cerebral palsy vary by severity of the disease, and include seizures, involuntary muscle contractions, difficulty sucking or feeding, irregular breathing, delayed development of motor skills, motor-mental retardation, mental retardations, speech abnormalities, visual abnormalities, hearing abnormalities, spasticity, progressive joint contractures, limited range of motion, and peg teeth (7). These symptoms are usually evident by age two and sometimes as early as three months, depending on severity. Cerebral palsy is a non-progressive disease; meaning symptoms directly resulting from the disease do not worsen over time (7). Initially, cerebral palsy was thought to be a result of birth asphyxia and trauma, but more recent studies have proven that birth asphyxia is an extremely uncommon cause of this disease. Studies show that hypoxia (low oxygen) to the damaged area of the brain, which results in cerebral palsy (7). Premature infants have a much greater risk of cerebral palsy than do infants that are carried to term. Premature infants are much more common in pregnancies with multiple births, therefore an increasing risk of cerebral palsy is present with the increasing number of multiple births. This is grounds for concern, considering the growing use of fertility drugs that is making multiple births much more common. Premature babies have a significantly higher risk of having cerebral palsy than babies carried to term. As the number of ... ... middle of paper ... ... 308(6942): 1507-1514; 1994 3) Alan, W.; Dranfield, D.; Kessler, D. Cerebral palsy in preterm infants. The Lancet. 343(8904): 1048-1062; 1994 4) Perlman, J.; Burns, D.; Twickler, D.; Weinberg, A. Fetal hypokinesia syndrome in the monochorionic pair of a triplet pregnancy secondary to severe disruptive cerebral injury. American Academy of Pediatrics. 96(3): 521-523; 1995 5) Murphy, D.; Hope, P. Johnson, A. Neonatal risk factors for cerebral palsy in very preterm babies: case control study. British Medical Journal. 314(7078): 404-408; 1997 6) Petterson, B.; Nelson, K.; Watson, L.; Stanley, F. Twins, triplets, and cerebral palsy in births in western Australia in the 1980’s. British Medical Journal. 307(6914): 1239-1243; 1993 7) American Cerebral Palsy Association. What is cerebral palsy? 1999. http://www.cerebralpalsy.org/whatis.html

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