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Times of India
04 October 2010
Hyderabad, India

Cerebral Palsy Day observed in city
With cerebral palsy becoming one of the common causes of childhood disability in India, Sunday, October 3, was observed as the first National Cerebral Palsy Day by citybased Indian Academy of Cerebral Palsy (IACP).

Focus On Awareness
Themed ‘demystifying cerebral palsy by action through awareness and advocacy’, neurologists raised an alarm that the disability is not decreasing due to lack of awareness among parents even though several interventions are available to improve the quality of life of patients.

This relatively lesser known but highly prevalent disorder, doctors say, is not a single problem but a result of various conditions. Mainly occurring due to interference in brain development either in the womb or during birth, it causes difficulty in movement, speech and sometimes learning of the children.

Babies born prematurely (less than seven months of gestation) and underweight (less than 1.5 kgs) are at high risk of acquiring it. Due to the above factors, the white deep matter of the brain gets affected resulting in various manifestations commonest of which is stiffness of legs, says Dr Vemula Srikanth, neurologist, Mediciti Hospital.

According to Dr B Anand Prasad, consultant paediatric neurologist, Lotus Hospital, the incidence of cerebral palsy is one in 400 live births. Expecting prompt results, parents are busy doctor shopping. But if the detection is early, say at about sixmonths of age, intervention can help them lead a near normal life, says Dr Anand.

Unfortunately, in a fast developing metro like Hyderabad, there are no special schools for such children and normal schools do not admit such children.

About 25 per cent of these children are minimally retarded and have mild behaviour problems which are tenable. They should not be admitted in schools for mentally retarded. Though they have difficulty in walking and climbing stairs, by 12-14 years, they become near normal, says Dr Jaydeep Ray Chaudhuri, neurologist, Yashoda Hospital.

Dr P Hanumanth Rao, founder of Sweeker Rehabilitation Institute for Handicapped and secretary of IACP says that there is an urgent need to deal with cerebral palsy which has emerged as a difficult challenge to the healthcare system.

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