A Comprehensive Cerebral Palsy Resource

Facts

General Facts

  • Those with CP who can feed themselves and have full mobility live almost as long as the “average” person.
  • Stephen Hawking, the world’s foremost physicist, suffers from Lou Gehrig’s disease, a condition with symptoms very similar to those of cerebral palsy
  • Famous people with cerebral palsy include Jerry Traylor (motivational speaker), Geri Jewell (comedian and actress), and Christopher Nolan (Irish author)
  • The United Cerebral Palsy Research and Educational Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research are all actively researching the condition
  • According to the CDC, the estimated lifetime cost to care for someone with CP over $1.25 million.

Prevalence of Cerebral Palsy

  • Spastic cerebral palsy remains the most common form, as it affects 80% of those with this condition.
  • Nearly 800,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
  • Approximately 8,000 babies and infants are diagnosed with cerebral palsy each year.
  • 1,200 – 1,500 preschool age children are also diagnosed with the condition each year.
  • About 2-3 children per 1000 are born with the condition each year.
  • Cerebral palsy is the second most common childhood neurological disability.

Causes, Signs, & Symptoms

  • 45% of children with cerebral palsy eventually develop epilepsy.
  • Mental retardation affects 25-33% of children with cerebral palsy.
  • Brain damage leading to cerebral palsy happens before birth, during birth, or within the first few years of a child’s life.
  • Early signs of cerebral palsy usually appear prior to 18 months of age, although they may not be noticed by parents or doctors until the child is several years old.
  • Acquired cerebral palsy, or cerebral palsy occurring after birth are believed to be the results of head injury or an infection such as meningitis.

History

  • Dr. William John Little, himself the survivor of many childhood diseases including polio and a resulting club foot, pioneered the research of cerebral palsy during the mid-1800s
  • Dr. Sigmund Freud, the father of modern psychology, published some of the earliest medical papers regarding this condition in the late 1800s