Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Rates of babies born with cerebral palsy appear to be dropping, researchers say

From Providence Children's Health Examiner:

A new article in The Journal of Pediatrics says the rates of cerebral palsy have declined dramatically in the past 15 years because infant care is improving.

Dr. Ingrid van Haastert and colleagues from the University Medical Center Utrecht in The Netherlands studied nearly 3000 infants born prematurely from 1990 and 2005.

They found 2.2 percent of the infants born between 2002 and 2005 were diagnosed with cerebral palsy, down from 6.5 percent for those born between 1990 and 1993.

The researchers also found children who were diagnosed with cerebral palsy between 2002 and 2005 were less severely affected by the condition than those diagnosed earlier.

The Gross Motor Function Classification System was used as primary outcome measure (mean age: 32.9 ± 5.3 months). Logistic regression analyses were used.

Cerebral palsy is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects motor function, more often in children born prematurely. Because cerebral palsy is a result of brain injury received shortly before, during, or soon after birth, the number of infants being diagnosed with the condition is a good indicator of the quality of perinatal and neonatal care.