What Is Cerebral Palsy & How Is It Caused?
So I have been asked to describe and give an overview about how birth injury and the kinds of injuries that we see at this firm leads to cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is an umbrella diagnosis. It is caused by brain injury or brain malformation that occurs before, during, or immediately after birth. All of this time while the infant's brain is under development, but how a brain injury affects a child's motor functioning, intellectual abilities is highly dependent on the nature of the brain injury, where the damage occurs and how severe it is. When we talked about cerebral palsy what we're really talking about is an overview, an umbrella of symptoms and conditions that result from specific kinds of brain injuries in children, in newborns or more particularly brain injury of the fetus before delivery.
As a result of the brain injury, during this period of development, the child's muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture, and balance are all affected. It can also impact the child's fine motor skills, gross motor skills, and oral functioning. Oral functioning doesn't just mean difficulties with speech. What we see with our kids is a wide variety of oral dysfunction, oral motor dysfunction including eating disorders, difficulty breathing, difficulty with tongue reflexes. Every case of CP is unique. There is no way to just diagnose a child with CP and understand what that means. It is absolutely a unique to the individual, grown up or child or for the kids we represent and for their families.
Each picture of cerebral palsy within that child and within that family is unique to them. This uniqueness is due and part to the type of injury, extent of injury, timing of the injury to the developing brain. The brain damage that causes cerebral palsy is a result of either prenatal disturbance of brain cell migration, genetic and environmental factors, can disturb cell migration as cells move to their appropriate location during brain development. That's a genetic cause of CP. Prenatal poor myelination of developing nerve cell fibers where poor myelin, the myelin sheath surrounding each neuron provides an inadequate protective covering of nerve cells and in the transmission of messages between those cells.
Perinatal brain cell death and that is what we really deal with in this firm. That is brain injury and perinatal brain cell death during the birthing process. That brain cell death can rupture blood vessels or arteries to the brain. Another cause can be postnatal, nonfunctional or inappropriate connections, the synopsis between the brain cells. That can be caused by trauma, infections or asphyxia, that any of those things that damaged connections developed in the brain. The 4 basic types of brain damage that can cause CP. The brain damage that causes motor impairment in CP results from one of 4 types of brain injury or brain malformation. First, there's PVL, periventricular leukomalacia. That means damage to the white matter tissue in the brain.
Experts report in the literature that decreased blood flow or damage to periventricular tissue is an underlying cause of what's called periventricular leukomalacia. Infants who are born before 32 weeks of gestation and who are mechanically ventilated are a greatest risk for PVL. Hypotension, hypoxemia, acidosis, hypocarbia, and ventilated premature infants can all cause PVL and a number of other events also pose a significant risk of increase. Those can be intrauterine infection where abnormal bacteria can infect the amniotic fluid. Those are the kinds of things that we see leading to PVL. The next is IVH, intraventricular hemorrhage. That's a brain intraventricular hemorrhage.
This is part I of a two part series. Read part II here.
If you are looking for a caring and experienced attorney for cerebral palsy contact the Tyrone Law firm today.