Monday, September 26, 2011


Common Cerebral Palsy Terms

This glossary should help provide answers to your basic questions about cerebral palsy. It can’t answer every question. Contact us if you have more questions about your child’s cerebral palsy, or if you would like to learn more about protecting your child’s right to Benefits4Life.

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ABO blood type incompatibility
ABO Blood Type Incompatibility results when the blood type of the fetus, or developing child, differs from the blood type of the mother. This can occur if (1) the mother is type O and the fetus is either B, A, or AB, (2) the mother is A and the fetus is B or AB, or (3) the mother is B and the fetus is A or AB.
adaptive equipment
Special equipment designed to aid individuals with disabilities in accomplishing tasks. Examples include wheelchairs, walkers, communication aids, and specialized tools
apgar score
A numbered score doctors use to assess a baby’s physical state at the time of birth.
applied or assistive technology
Any item, device, software, or piece of equipment which is used to maintain or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. Examples range from grab bars in accessible bathroom stalls to specialized screen reading software for individuals with visual impairments.
Impaired ability to carry out purposeful movements in an individual who does not have significant motor problems.
Lack of oxygen due to trouble with breathing or poor oxygen supply in the air.
bile pigments
Yellow-colored substances produced by the human body as a by-product of digestion.
ataxic cerebral palsy
Cerebral palsy characterized by low muscle tone and poor coordination.
athetoid cerebral palsy
Cerebral palsy caused by damage to the cerebellum or basal ganglia which may cause involuntary movements in the face, arms, and trunk of individuals affected by this type of Cerebral palsy.
caesarean section
The surgical removal of a child from it’s mother’s womb by opening the abdominal and uterine walls.
central nervous system
The human body system consisting of the spinal chord and the brain which sends signal throughout the body to direct movement and organ function.
Relating to the two hemispheres of the human brain.
An abnormality in neuromuscular activity characterized by rapidly alternating muscular contraction and relaxation.
computed tomography (CT)
An imaging technique that uses X rays and a computer to create a picture of the brain’s tissues and structures.
Present at birth.
A condition in which muscles become fixed in a rigid, abnormal position causing distortion or deformity.
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developmental malformations
Occasionally, something may disrupt the brain’s development process. A brain in utero may fail to develop the usual number of brain cells, communication between cells may be impaired, or brain cells may not migrate to the areas they are supposed to. Causes of these malformations can include genetic disorders, chromosome abnormalities with either too much or too little genetic material, or faulty blood supply to the brain. Developmental brain malformations in the areas of the brain which control voluntary movement may cause cerebral palsy.
developmental milestones
The averages ages at which children develop certain skills or abilities. Tracking these milestones enables you to observe any problems in your child’s development.
down syndrome
A chromosomal abnormality caused by an accident in cell development which creates 47 instead of the normal 46 chromosomes which alters the normal development of the body and brain.
Problems with speaking caused by difficulty moving or coordinating the muscles needed for speech.
electroencephalogram (EEG)
A technique for recording the pattern of electrical currents inside the brain.
A special recording technique that detects muscle activity.
A symptom of brain dysfunction characterized by periodic, recurrent seizures.
erb’s palsy
A form a paralysis caused by traumatic injury to the upper brachial plexus. This occurs most commonly during childbirth due to forcible traction during delivery. Indicators of Erb’s palsy include loss of sensation in the arm and paralysis and atrophy of the muscles in the arm. Usually only effects one side of the body.
failure to thrive
A condition characterized by lag in physical growth and development.
fetal distress
Also called “Hypoxia”, the term indicates a situation when your baby cannot breathe.
Tools used to grip a baby’s head and guide it out of the birth canal.
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gait analysis
A technique that uses camera recording, force plates, electromyography, and computer analysis to objectively measure an individual’s pattern of walking.
A surgical procedure to create an artificial opening in the stomach.
Defective vision or blindness that impairs half of the normal field of vision.
hemiparetic tremors
Uncontrollable shaking affecting the limbs on the spastic side of the body in those who have spastic hemiplegia.
Increased tone.
Decreased tone.
hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy
Brain damage caused by poor blood flow or insufficient oxygen supply to the brain.
intraventricular hemorrhage
Bleeding into the fluid spaces (or “ventricles”) within the brain or bleeding in areas near the ventricles.
involuntary movement
Movement not under conscious control of the brain. Your heart beat is an involuntary movement. When involuntary movements affect normally controlled parts of the body, such as limbs or mouths, these can be seriously detrimental to your ability to function normally.
A blood disorder caused by the abnormal buildup of bile pigments in the bloodstream.
little’s disease
The original name for Cerebral palsy, as defined by English surgeon William John Little in 1843.
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magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
an imaging technique which uses radio waves, magnetic fields, and computer analysis to create a picture of body tissues and structures.
An infection of the fluid of a person’s spinal cord and the fluid which surrounds the brain.
mixed cerebral palsy
A form of cerebral palsy which includes affects of both spastic cerebral palsy and athetoid cerebral palsy.
motor function
The parts of the human body which enable people to move. Fine motor skills includes the use of small muscles, such as hands; gross motor skills represents the larger muscles, such as legs and arms.
neonatal hemorrhage
Bleeding of brain blood vessels in the newborn.
orthotic devices
Special devices, such as splints or braces, used to treat problems of the muscles, ligaments, or bones of the skeletal system.
paresis or plegia
Weakness or paralysis. In cerebral palsy, these terms are typically combined with another phrase that describes the distribution of paralysis and weakness, e.g., paraparesis.
Paralysisor problems in the control of voluntary movement.
Movements that the body makes automatically in response to a specific cue.
Rh incompatibility
A blood condition in which antibodies in a pregnant woman’s blood can attack fetal blood cells, impairing the fetus’s supply of oxygen and nutrients.
Also known as German measles, rubella is a viral infection that can damage the nervous system in the developing fetus.
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selective dorsal root rhizotomy
A surgical procedure in which selected nerves are severed to reduce spasticity in the legs.
spastic cerebral palsy
The most common form of Cerebral palsy, it causes affected children to have stiff and jerky movements.
spastic diplegia
A form of cerebral palsy in which both arms and both legs are affected, the legs being more severely affected.
spastic hemiplegia (or hemiparesis)
A form of cerebral palsy in which spasticity affects the arm and leg on one side of the body.
spastic paraplegia (or paraparesis)
A form of cerebral palsy in which spasticity affects both legs but the arms are relatively or completely spared.
spastic quadriplegia (or quadriparesis)
A form of cerebral palsy in which all four limbs are affected equally.
Difficulty perceiving and identifying objects using the sense of touch.
Misalignment of the eyes.
A technique that bounces sound waves off of tissues and structures and uses the pattern of echoes to form an image, called a sonogram.
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Contact us if you have questions about your child’s cerebral palsy, or if you would like to learn more about protecting your child’s right to Benefits4Life.

1-800-4MyChild (1-800-469-2445)

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