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Epidemiology of Cerebral Palsy

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Cerebral Palsy


The epidemiology of cerebral palsy includes studies across whole populations within a defined geographic area that center on determining the frequency of the condition; identifying patterns, risk factors, and causal pathways; and evaluating the effectiveness of interventions for prevention and reducing severity. This chapter uses population data from long-standing registers to give an update on these studies. The rates of cerebral palsy in developed countries have fluctuated between 1.5 and 3/1000 live births throughout the last 50 years. There have been periods of reducing rates, which have been followed by increases in rates. We are currently in another decline, and the question is as follows: Can this decline continue under 1.5/1000 live births for the first time? It is now becoming increasingly important to measure frequencies in low- and middle-income countries, where frequencies are expected to be higher, but with possibilities for primary prevention. Patterns have emerged among gestational age and birth weight categories as well as motor type and topographic distributions. We understand more about causal pathways that include preterm birth, multiple births, infection, and congenital anomalies which open more doors to primary prevention and reduced severity than when research was simply focused on birth asphyxia.

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Correspondence to Kate Himmelmann .

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© 2018 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

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Himmelmann, K., McIntyre, S., Goldsmith, S., Smithers-Sheedy, H., Watson, L. (2018). Epidemiology of Cerebral Palsy. In: Miller, F., Bachrach, S., Lennon, N., O'Neil, M. (eds) Cerebral Palsy. Springer, Cham.

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-50592-3

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-50592-3

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