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Curr Opin Pediatr. 1999 Dec;11(6):487-91.

Causes of cerebral palsy.

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  • 1California Birth Defects Monitoring Program, California Department of Health Services, Emeryville, USA.


Risk factors for cerebral palsy in term or near-term children include intrauterine exposure to infection or inflammation and disorders of coagulation. Interruption of the oxygen supply during birth contributes approximately 6% of spastic cerebral palsy. Low Apgar score, need for resuscitation, and seizures are nonspecific indicators of neonatal illness that do not identify cause. Although not entirely consistent, current evidence suggests that in utero infection may predispose very preterm and more mature infants to cerebral palsy and that antenatal exposure to steroids may be somewhat protective. Recognition of a broader set of causal possibilities encourages hope for new strategies for the prevention of cerebral palsy.

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