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Prevalence of Cerebral Palsy: New Statistics

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Updated: 14.07.2014

Prevalence of Cerebral Palsy: New Statistics
In 2002, the American investigators from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network conducted surveillance where they calculated the number of 8-year-old cerebral palsied children living in northern Alabama, southeastern Wisconsin and metropolitan Atlanta, having, thus, denied the commonly accepted statistics concerning prevalenсe of cerebral palsy in the United States.
The average prevalence of CP across these 3 sites was found to be 3.6 cases per 1000 8-y-olds (3.3 — in Wisconsin, 3.7 — in Alabama, 3.8 — in Georgia), whereas, previously, prevalence of CP was reported to range from 1.5 to 3 cases per 1000 children.

At all sites, prevalence of CP was higher in boys than girls, with the overall boy-girl ratio of 1.4:1. Besides, prevalence of CP was highest in black non-Hispanic children and lowest in Hispanic children. Children from low- and middle-income families suffered from CP more often than those from high-income families. Spastic cerebral palsy was the most common subtype of CP comprising 77% of all cases, with bilateral spastic cerebral palsy constituting 70% of all cases of spastic CP.

These findings are of vital importance due to their contributing new knowledge to the epidemiology of CP in the USA as well as adding much to better understanding of CP etiology through monitoring the frequency of CP subtypes.

The issue of the etiology of CP is an extremely urgent one. In fact, researchers have made relatively little progress in understanding the causes of CP and in developing strategies for primary prevention irregardless of functional outcomes and quality of life for individuals with CP improved recently due to much better rehabilitation and surgical therapies.

Some evidence of an association between improved rates of survival of infants born prematurely and/or at very low birth weight and increasing prevalence of CP exists, but this finding appears to be rather controversial, since the recent data from Europe have indicated a decline between the birth years 1980 and 1996 in the prevalence of CP among survivors of preterm birth.

This investigation can enormously help clinicians in developing more coordinated and more holistic schemes of treatment, rehabilitation and attendant care for the cerebral palsied.

Based on the article on Prevalence of Cerebral Palsy in 8-Year-Old Chidren in Three Areas of the United States in 2002: A Multiside Collaboration from Pediatrics (Volume 121, Number 3, March 2008).
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