What is Althetoid Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral Palsy usually called CP is actually a term that refers to a group of disorders that affect muscle coordination and body movement in patients. People especially children who are affected by Cerebral palsy will find that they are unable to move their limbs and have very little control over their muscles. Cerebral Palsy occurs because there is damage to certain parts of the brain, which control muscle movements in the body. Damage to the brain can occur anytime during the pregnancy term or during birth or just after birth. Any grievous injury to the brain can lead to cerebral palsy. Alcohol consumption, drug abuse and infections in the mother during pregnancy can also lead to cerebral plasy.

There are different types of cerebral palsy and one of them is Athetoid CP. A child who suffers from this particular disorder can be extremely intelligent than even other normal children. While the brain is highly active, teeming with intelligence the body just refuses to move. This is because the muscles in the body of the affected child refuse to conform to any movement because they are just too loose. The child thus does not have vertical stability and finds it difficult to perform simple tasks like even scratching his or her nose, brushing their teeth or even holding apen or spoon in their hands. The child will have to put in extra effort to focus on his or her muscle coordination so that he or she can get it to obey the commands.

A child with athetoid will be making all sorts of gestures on their face, which can be ugly to look at, simply because the poor child has no control over the muscle. Facial contortions, grimaces and drooling are the most common symptoms of this disorder. All kids with this disorder look like they are performing various dance movements when they actually are not. It is because the child’s feet are unable to carry the weight of the child and this causes him or her to keep pulling their legs upwards like a dance movement.

Patients with Athetoid CP will have knees that are bent inwards not allowing them any free movements because they keep touching each other. This will hinder them form walking, sitting or even trying to be upright for a longer period. You will find them collapsing.

What causes this problem, which is unlike other cases of CP? It is the Basal Ganglia, which is present in the midbrain. The Basal Ganglia are specialized structures which help in maintaining the body posture in an individual and helps perform automatic movements like arm swings during walks. Because the Basal Ganglia gets damaged it results in causing fluctuations in muscle tone through out the body of a patient affected by Athetoid Cerebral Palsy. The rapid change in muscle movement from high to low cause the body to become uncontrollable and movements become involuntary. These symptoms normally disappear when the child goes off to sleep.

Athetoid CP can be treated by various methods like providing speech therapy, music and dance therapy, physical therapy, yoga etc to the child. Muscle coordination can be improved tremendously with these therapies.