What is Athetoid Cerebral Palsy?

About Athetoid Cerebral Palsy

Athetoid cerebral palsy affects around 10 to 20 percent of people who have the disorder. Athetoid CP is known by variations in muscle tone–between being too tight and too loose. The muscle tone variations will often cause spasms. Athetoid cerebral palsy will affect the whole body, not just a particular region.

Interestingly enough, a large percentage of people with athetoid cerebral palsy are above average in terms of intelligence.

Athetoid cerebral palsy is also sometimes referred to as “dyskinetic cerebral palsy”. This is sometimes confused with adult onset dystonia because the symptoms are actually quite similar. However, adult onset dystonia is degenerative, while dyskinetic athetoid cerebral palsy isn’t.

Athetoid cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the brain. This damage is located in the cerebellum or basal ganglia of the brain. These are the movement centers of the brain. The cerebellum and basal ganglia are responsible for processing nerve signals that enable coordinated, smooth movement and maintain body posture. Damage to these particular areas of the brain can make people develop slow, random, involuntary movements.

The brain damage that causes athetoid cerebral palsy can occur in several different ways. Lack of oxygen reaching the brain during fetal development is one. Another is poor pre-natal care, alcohol or drug abuse while pregnant. Head trauma, viral infection during pregnancy or bleeding in the brain.

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