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Clin Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Dec;51(4):742-8. doi: 10.1097/GRF.0b013e318187081a.

Establishing the diagnosis of cerebral palsy.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48823, USA.


Cerebral palsy (CP) is a diagnosis of considerable concern to obstetricians, but the diagnosis of CP can be challenging, and may need to be confirmed by an experienced practitioner, ideally a child neurologist or psychiatrist. It is important not to make the diagnosis too early in infancy, especially when the signs are not severe, as resolution of early neuromotor abnormalities does occur, particularly in premature infants. Exclusion of genetic/metabolic disorders presenting with CP-like findings is important. The degree of activity limitation should be characterized; labeling children as having CP on the basis of abnormal examination findings alone without evidence of activity limitation is not useful. Brain imaging can be helpful in pinpointing the location of the underlying brain abnormality and sometimes provides etiologically useful information.

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