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Cerebral Palsy on the Rise

A research study out of Loyola University Health System reported that cerebral palsy increased in premature infants in the United States. The results were published in an issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2008. Cerebral palsy impairs movement in infants and toddlers due to brain damage. The disorder usually will develop in toddlers before age two or three. It is one of the most chronic childhood disabilities, affecting more than 500,000 Americans.

Rise of Cerebral Palsy 
Non-genetic severe mental retardation attributed to cerebral palsy rose to over 2.5 cases per thousand live births in the past ten years. It can be the result of the improved survival rates for low birth weight babies due to medical advances. Cerebral palsy can be caused by the inflammation of the umbilical cords connective tissue, which can stem from preterm labor resulting in premature birth. The amniotic sac can rupture early which can cause infections that, according to research, are responsible for cerebral palsy more than premature babies born due to preeclampsia. 
This study evaluated 222 preterm placentas from rupture of the amniotic sac, preeclampsia, births of multiples, and births where the mother had heart complications. When the amniotic sac ruptured early there were 30 percent of babies born with inflamed umbilical cords compared to only three percent in mothers who had preeclampsia. The findings highlight the necessity of controlling and managing inflammation of the umbilical cord to decrease the risk of infection resulting in cerebral palsy.
Reasons for Rise of Cerebral Palsy
Other than the miracles of modern medicine now improving the outcomes of premature birth viability, there are several other reasons that can be looked at for the rise of premature births resulting in cerebral palsy in infants.
•Many women are now having babies when they are in their forties. More than 200,000 babies per year are born to mothers over the age of 40, which would be considered a high-risk pregnancy.
•The number of women classified as obese also rose significantly in the past decade. Chronic health problems are often related to obesity.
•Many more women are taking or have taken prescription drug to treat a variety of medical conditions, including depression, cancer, and other severe illnesses. Some of these medications are known to pose the risk of birth defects in babies.
•Cancer survivors are now able to effectively carry babies even though they may have gone through a series of drugs and medical treatments. Many of these cancer survivors are of childbearing age.
•Because many women are waiting until later in life to have babiesHealth Fitness Articles, they often have to resort to fertility treatments in order to become pregnancy. This results in multiples being born which can lead to premature births as well as other heath issues.

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Peter Wendt is a writer and researcher in Austin, Texas. He recommends that readers looking for information about medical malpractice consider researching negligent doctors.

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