Thanks to a growing body of research, the epidemiology and aetiology of cerebral palsy is now better understood. MRI scanning has helped in understanding the interference that happens in brain development in utero. Nevertheless, on-going and future research, especially in brain plasticity, are key to better understanding the causes and to improving treatment of the disorder.1,2
Possible prevention techniques that can effectively decrease the burden of the disease are:
- Antenatal Magnesium Sulfate (MgSO4), which has been demonstrated to help in preventing cerebral palsy in prematurely delivered neonates.1
- Improved nutrition, infection control, and accident prevention should especially help in reducing the prevalence of post-neonatal cerebral palsy.2
Helping individuals with cerebral palsy to feel more included in the society is another key development area. New technologies directed both to the individual, such as voice synthesisers, and to the environment, such as intelligent household appliances, help in improving their quality of life.2
Understanding the detailed causes and complications of cerebral palsy is essential for a better diagnosis and treatment. However, understanding the emotional journey of caregivers before, during and after diagnosis is also essential for the overall wellbeing of the family.
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Furthermore, the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) guidelines for the Evaluation and Treatment of Gastrointestinal and Nutritional Complications in Children With Neurological Impairment contain updated nutritional guidelines that are relevant for children with CP. The authors state that nutritional assessment and nutritional interventions in neurologically impaired children are a challenge for physicians but should be part of the child’s comprehensive care and rehabilitation.3
→We invite you to visit our section dedicated to nutrition
- Rouse DJ and Gibbins KJ. Magnesium sulfate for cerebral palsy prevention. Semin Perinatol. 2013;37(6):414-6.
- Colver A et al. Cerebral palsy. Lancet. 2014;383:1240-49.
- Romano C et al. European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Guidelines for the Evaluation and Treatment of Gastrointestinal and Nutritional Complications in Children With Neurological Impairment. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2017;65(2):242-264.