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Lancet. 2014 Apr 5;383(9924):1240-9. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)61835-8. Epub 2013 Nov 20.

Cerebral palsy.

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Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
Department of Paediatric Neurosciences, Evelina Children's Hospital, Guy's and Saint Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK.
University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK. Electronic address:


The syndrome of cerebral palsy encompasses a large group of childhood movement and posture disorders. Severity, patterns of motor involvement, and associated impairments such as those of communication, intellectual ability, and epilepsy vary widely. Overall prevalence has remained stable in the past 40 years at 2-3·5 cases per 1000 livebirths, despite changes in antenatal and perinatal care. The few studies available from developing countries suggest prevalence of comparable magnitude. Cerebral palsy is a lifelong disorder; approaches to intervention, whether at an individual or environmental level, should recognise that quality of life and social participation throughout life are what individuals with cerebral palsy seek, not improved physical function for its own sake. In the past few years, the cerebral palsy community has learned that the evidence of benefit for the numerous drugs, surgery, and therapies used over previous decades is weak. Improved understanding of the role of multiple gestation in pathogenesis, of gene environment interaction, and how to influence brain plasticity could yield significant advances in treatment of the disorder. Reduction in the prevalence of post-neonatal cerebral palsy, especially in developing countries, should be possible through improved nutrition, infection control, and accident prevention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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