Three children surrounding a small disabled child in wheelchairWhat is cerebral palsy?

The term cerebral palsy refers to any one of a number of neurological disorders that appear in infancy or early childhood and permanently affect body movement and muscle coordination.  Even though cerebral palsy affects muscle movement, it isn?t caused by problems in the muscles or nerves.  It is caused by abnormalities in parts of the brain that control muscle movements.

Who does cerebral palsy typically affect?

The majority of children with cerebral palsy are born with it, although it may not be detected until months or years later.  A small number of children have cerebral palsy as the result of brain damage in the first few months or years of life, brain infections such as bacterial meningitis or viral encephalitis, or head injury from a motor vehicle accident, a fall, or child abuse.  Scientists are also looking at traumatic events in newborn babies? brains, such as bleeding, epileptic seizures, and breathing and circulation problems, which can cause the abnormal release of chemicals that trigger the kind of damage that causes cerebral palsy.

What are the most common symptoms of cerebral palsy?

The most common are a lack of muscle coordination when performing voluntary movements (ataxia); stiff or tight muscles and exaggerated reflexes (spasticity); walking with one foot or leg dragging; walking on the toes, a crouched gait, or a ?scissored? gait; and muscle tone that is either too stiff or too floppy.  Additionally, up to half of all children with CP experience one form of seizure or another.

What are the traditional treatments for the cerebral palsy?

Treatment may include physical and occupational therapy, speech therapy, and drugs to control seizures, relax muscle spasms, and alleviate pain.  Many undergo surgery to correct anatomical abnormalities or release tight muscles. Braces and other orthotic devices are used in many cases to help in ambulation.  In extreme cases, aids such as computers with attached voice synthesizers can be used to help with communication

Why is cerebral palsy amenable to oxygen therapy?

The rationale behind using HBOT for Cerebral Palsy is that the treatments increase cerebral blood flow, thereby delivering oxygen to areas of the brain which are thought to be hypoxic. Greater amounts of blood and oxygen stimulate cerebral tissues and aid in recovery damaged neurons.  HBOT also reduces swelling of brain tissues which aid in neurological function.

What benefits can I expect from oxygen therapy for cerebral palsy?

Since every patient is different it is hard to predict the result in each individual case.  However, we know from 50 years of experience that HBOT is safe and will not make the patient worse.  The usual course of oxygen therapy is once daily, five days a week (M-F) for eight weeks.  If a significant response is noted after 40 HBOT additional treatments may be helpful.

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Disclaimer: The information provided does not constitute a medical recommendation. It is intended for informational purposes only, and no claims, either real or implied, are being made.

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