How is cerebral palsy diagnosed?

Examination findings. There is no specific diagnostic test for cerebral palsy. The diagnosis is made on the basis of the findings on examination including abnormalities of muscle tone, limitation of movement at joints, and abnormality of reflexes. There may be developmental delay, speech problems and visual abnormalities accompanying the motor abnormanlities.
Physical exam. The best way to initially diagnose cerebral palsy is with a thorough history and physical exam. If needed, a brain imaging study can help detail affected areas of the brain.
Physical exam. Since infants do little more than feed & cuddle we must wait until they are a little older to begin showing abnormalities of muscle tone & difficulty acheiving motor skills before CP is suspected. I have suspected this as early as 6 months but it is often around a year before the features are evident enough to make the dx.Workup may look into look alike issues.

Related Questions

Will docs only diagnose cerebral palsy when there are definitive findings on mri? What clinical signs might they use instead?

Cerebral palsy. Doctors have diagnosed cerebral palsy for a great many years before the MRI was invented. There are numerous signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy and your physician can discuss this with you concerning the individual in question. Read more...
Clinical diagnosis. CP is clasically defined as a motor disorder with no effect on cognition. The primary types are spastic diplegia (weakness and spasticity in both legs), spastic hemiplegia (one side of the body), triplegia (three extremities involved), and quadriplegia. An MRI is often helpful when making the diagnosis, but it is not always necessary. A good history and exam is usually sufficient. Read more...
No. doctors will make the diagnosis of cerebral palsy based on clinical signs including spasticity, hyperactive reflexes, limitation of passive movement at joints. An abnormal MRI is not necessary for the diagnosis. Read more...

What is cerebral palsy?

Depends. CP is a disorder of movement or posture related to brain injury that occurred at some point from pregnancy until the third birthday. It can be associated with many other related problems depending on the expent. Each case is somewhat unique ; most are mild and improve with developmental therapy like P.T.Referral to a developmental center is appropriate.. Read more...
Cerebral palsy is a . Group of disorders of impaired motor functions that are described by the way they limit mobility & hand use. Most commonly from a fetal brain malformation or injury that occurred any time from the 3rd week of gestation till term, about 10-20% of cases occur from asphyxia during labor & delivery or in the first years of life. Pediatric, early intervention services & subspecialty care all help. Read more...

What causes cerebral palsy?

Injury to nerves. CP results from an stable (non-progessive) injury to brain cells that are devoted to movement, muscle control & posture. The injury can be lack of nutrients (oxygen, glucose) due to blood flow problems or hemorrhage or infection (virus, parasite, bacteria).The injury can occur during pregnancy, labor, delivery or the first 3 yrs. Read more...
Brain injury. Cerebral palsy is a static encephalopathy which results in a problem with control of muscles. Children may be found to have the condition shortly after birth. Some are due to injury at birth, others due to injury in utero, many the cause is never determined. Injury to the brain after birth can result in a form of acquired cerebral palsy such as from meningitis, stroke, injury, brain surgery. Read more...

What causes cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is caused by an abnormality or disruption in brain development, usually before a child is born. Causes include: random mutations in genes, maternal infections that affect the developing fetus, lack of oxygen or blood flow to the brain, infant infections that cause inflammation in or around the brain, traumatic head injury to an infant from a motor vehicle accident, fall or abuse. Read more...
Cerebral palsy is a . group of motor impairments defined by the way they affect mobility & hand use. Genetic errors, prenatal exposure to alcohol or drugs & other factors can alter brain formation as early as 3 wks. after conception. Decreased flow of blood & oxygen to the fetal brain from maternal, placental or fetal problems can occur any time before or during birth. Trauma & infection can cause CP up to age 3 yrs. Read more...

How common is cerebral palsy?

Too common. Cerebral palsy is a broad term for any static encephalopathy that affects motor function. Many cases are found in infants due to disorders or defects of the brain. Some are due to stroke in utero. Some from birth injury. Most are of uncertain cause. Some are acquired due to trauma or infection of the brain. Some edtimate that 5% to 8% of all births will result in some form of cp. Read more...

Can drugs cause cerebral palsy?

Not directly. Cerebral palsy is caused by injury to an immature brain. It typically occurs when a child is born early or has an event where they have inadequate blood suppply or oxygen to the brain for a signifcant length of time. Read more...
Not that we know. More than half of kids with CP will occur with normal (no drugs) pregnancy,labor & delivery.The triggering event is a variable brain injury to the motor centers of the brain at any point from its formation up to the 3rd birthday.Things that would interfere with blood flow or oxygen distribution would be expected. Since we don't know all the side effects of unspecified drugs we don't know for sure. Read more...

Can herbs help treat cerebral palsy?

Not specifically. Herbs can provide nutrients to all of us as part of balanced nutrition.They do not change the perminant brain injury that is the basis for cerebral palsy.Proper assessment and treatment by a team of physical and occupational therapists is the standard of care for cp.Additional support for medical needs and balanced nutrition provide the best chance of optimal function. Read more...

What causes cerebral palsy in child?

Damage to the brain. Cerebral palsy is a term used to label a child who has a static encephalopathy. There are many different types and degrees of dysfunction that fall within that label. There are abnormalities of motor function found on neurological examination, but the child may be quite intelligent and otherwise normal. The cause is complex but involves damage to motor control areas of the brain. Read more...
Difficult to know. We understand that this relates to an injury to the nerves that control movement & posture within the region of the brain called the motor cortex. By definition the injury can happen any time from when the nerves form to the 3rd birthday (research definition).Whether this is from poor blood flow, silent stroke, low blood sugar, toxin or infection, no specific cause is apparent. Read more...

What causes cerebral palsy in children?

Various causes. It is often not known, but any injury to the brain, whether through an infection, or inflammation or low oxygen, or other, can potentially lead to cerebral palsy. Those insults often happen early on in life or even during fetal stages of life. Read more...
Hard to say. CP is caused by any injury to motor cortex in the brain from the point they become active in pregnancy to the 3rd birthday (research definition).These include loss of oxygen, blood flow, glucose (fuel), infection, trauma, etc. Studies show over half those with symptoms evident by age 7 had a normal pregnancy labor and delivery. The extent of impairment is quite variable. Read more...