Diagnosing Cerebral Palsy at Birth
A significant problem in treating children with cerebral palsy is the delay in diagnosis. Frequently, doctors are uncomfortable making the diagnosis until the child is about two or three years old. Treating doctors will look for common signs, like poor head control, poor sucking or feeding, motor delays, and excessive joint stiffness or limpness. That may change.
Australian researchers are poised to present their research, which may help doctors diagnose cerebral palsy at birth, or shortly thereafter. The belief and hope is that earlier diagnosis will mean better outcomes for the affected babies. According to the researchers, their methods have a 95% accuracy rate for diagnosing cerebral palsy by three months of age.
Their research will be presented at the European Academy of Childhood Disability. After formal publication of the findings, it the results will no doubt be tested by other researchers, and if useful, will begin to be applied in hospitals throughout the world. The method is already being used in some Australian hospitals.
There is good reason to have high hopes for this research—one of the lead researchers, Iona Novak, has taken on a large role with the Australian Cerebral Palsy Register, which is committed to building an Australian cerebral palsy database to investigate cause and prevention of cerebral palsy. Go to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s website and search her name—she’s on no less than 13 separate research projects, as either primary investigator or co-investigator.
A diagnosis of cerebral palsy can be devastating and confusing, however research is continually finding ways to make life better for those families affected by cerebral palsy. For more information, contact our medical malpractice attorneys at (440) 252-4399 or online for a free consultation.