Cerebral Palsy and Epilepsy

Cerebral palsy is a condition in which certain damage is done in the parts of brain that results in the physical disability in early childhood. This disorder is not progressive but no cure has been found till today to cure this disorder completely. However, you could help the patient suffering from this disorder to gain a firm control of his/ her life without having to depend on other people by making use of certain treatments.

Epilepsy on the other hand, is a disorder of brain in which an affected person tends to get recurring seizures. When an electric signal sent by the nerve cells of brain is disturbed then seizure occurs. Epilepsy is usually associated with involuntary and sudden contraction of group of muscles. Illness, accident, trauma, stroke, infection etc tend to cause epilepsy in majority of cases. However, you would also find cases in which epilepsy is inherited. Epileptic seizures may bring about involuntary changes in movement, awareness, sensation, behavior or functioning of human body. It usually lasts for about few seconds to few minutes.

Most of the people tend to associate cerebral palsy and epilepsy with each other. The main reason behind this association is that all types of epileptic seizures could easily be found in the patients suffering from cerebral palsy. Secondary generalized and complex partial are the most frequent types of seizures. It has also been found that epileptic seizures in children suffering from cerebral palsy have an earlier onset. Moreover, epileptic seizures are most commonly found in children having a severe degree of cerebral palsy.

An association between cerebral palsy and epilepsy has been shown by many studies as well. Research studies have shown that 10 to 33 % percent patients suffering from cerebral palsy developed epilepsy afterwards. Moreover, 10 to 29% patients with mental retardation develop epilepsy whereas 50 % of the patients who were suffering from both mental retardation and cerebral palsy have greater chances of developing epilepsy as well.

Mental retardation, cerebral palsy and epilepsy are disorders of central nervous system, thus if an individual is having both mental retardation and cerebral palsy then the risk of getting epilepsy as well would be greater. Among the people having cerebral palsy and mental retardation, epilepsy is basically characterized as:

  • Earlier onset of seizures
  • Lower rate of remission
  • Increased level of drug resistance
  • Increased rate of intractable epilepsy
  • Increases level of mortality if compared with patients having epilepsy alone or general population
  • High frequency of initial seizure
  • Increased level of frequent seizures after interruption of treatment

The risk of epilepsy in Cerebral palsy patients has been recognized at the earlier time. According to Freud, there is a possibility that the subclinical seizure discharges may cause or add up to cognitive problems.  A person with CP may need additional attention since their ability is already impaired and structural brain abnormalities may be affected too.

It significant to have knowledge about seizures, this way we know how to take care of them. It may be a practice but avoid putting anything on their mouth when they seizure. A tongue depressor may not be able to hold the force and can be very harmful once they choke a piece of it.

There are few children having cerebral palsy tend to get seizures but they are non- epileptic. “Sleep start” is one such seizure that is non epileptic but could be found in patients of cerebral palsy. In this seizure, patient would have topic contractions for a short period of time, thus it is advised not to use non epileptic medication as it isn’t needed.

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