Researchers Uncover New Information About Cerebral Palsy Risk Factors

Recent studies have revealed important information on the link between maternal illnesses and genetic changes and the increased risk of cerebral palsy.

Maternal Illnesses

A recent study conducted in Norway found specific maternal illnesses to increase cerebral palsy risk in children. The study explored the association between 17 maternal chronic conditions and cerebral palsy. In the over 1.3 million children that were surveyed, 3,575 had cerebral palsy.

The strongest associations between maternal chronic conditions and increased cerebral palsy risk were for the following illnesses:

  • Type 1 or 2 diabetes
  • Lupus
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Migraine

Other conditions linked to cerebral palsy to a lesser extent include asthma, anemia, chronic hypertension, thyroid disorder, ulcerous colitis, and epilepsy.

Overall, the research showed that maternal chronic conditions being present at birth increased the likelihood of children being diagnosed with cerebral palsy by 30%. Mothers with an autoimmune disease had a 40% higher risk of having a child with cerebral palsy. The risk of cerebral palsy increased as the number of conditions present in the mothers increased. No connection was found between chronic conditions in fathers and the risk of cerebral palsy in children.

Chicago cerebral palsy attorneys and other professionals who handle cerebral palsy cases will agree that the study findings are in agreement with those of other studies. Previous studies have suggested that the children of mothers with particular chronic conditions may have a higher risk of cerebral palsy.

The researchers look forward to the information helping in the creation of strategies to reduce the risk of congenital cerebral palsy.

Genetic Changes

A growing body of research suggests genetic changes may cause cerebral palsy. A research team from GeneDx Inc. and Geisinger analyzed the DNA sequence in over 1,500 adults and children with cerebral palsy. The team found changes in 229 genes, some of which had been identified in previous studies. The study found genetic changes to have contributed to cerebral palsy in about one-third of pediatric patients and 10% of adult patients.

According to the researchers, establishing the genetic cause of cerebral palsy may help determine the risk of the problem recurring in parents’ future children. Genetic testing for people with cerebral palsy may facilitate faster identification of the disease-causing genetic changes, leading to early medical intervention and treatment.

More research on the development of cerebral palsy is underway. As new information is discovered, people will better understand the disorder and enhance its treatment and prevention.