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What causes cerebral palsy?

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Quick Answer

According to Mayo Clinic, cerebral palsy develops due to a disruption in brain development that generally occurs when a child is still in the womb. In most cases, the trigger that leads to the disruption is unknown, but possible causes include fetal stroke, gene mutations, infections that cause inflammation in or around the infant's brain or a head injury due to a car accident or other traumatic event.

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What causes cerebral palsy?
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According to WebMD, severe illnesses, like meningitis, that develop during the first years of life can also cause a brain injury that develops into cerebral palsy. Physical trauma and dehydration during infancy can also cause the disorder. Approximately 10,000 infants are diagnosed with cerebral palsy each year, and premature babies are especially vulnerable to the condition.

Cerebral palsy impairs the ability to control movement. WebMD notes that the disorder is not progressive, so the brain damage that occurs does not continue to worsen over time. However, the symptoms of the condition can worsen or get better as the child ages. Between 35 and 50 percent of children with cerebral palsy have an accompanying seizure disorder and experience some level of mental retardation. Language, vision, speech and learning problems are also common in those with the disorder.

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