Cerebral Palsy in children | Action Medical Research

Cerebral Palsy in children

Around 2,000 babies are diagnosed with cerebral palsy every year in the UK. This usually becomes apparent in a child’s first three years of life and they will experience lifelong difficulties with movement and coordination. The severity of these difficulties varies greatly from one child to another, and parents are often keen to know exactly how their own baby’s life will be affected – whether they’ll be able to walk and live independently during adulthood, for example.

Tom, pictured here, has quadriplegic cerebral palsy. Both his arms, both his legs and his torso are affected, and he is severely physically disabled. “Tom finds it extremely hard to control his arms and legs, has a lack of balance and suffers from muscle stiffness and weakness,” his mum Maria explains. “He uses a wheelchair and we’ve been told it is unlikely that he will ever be able to walk unaided.”

Tom is a bright little boy, and thankfully he can see, hear and talk. But everyday activities such as eating and playing with toys are challenging for him. “Tom will need immense levels of care throughout his life,” Maria says.

Action is dedicated to helping children like Tom by funding vital medical research.

Could ultrasound scans help identify early hip problems for children with cerebral palsy?

Research date: 9 May 2017 - 8 May 2020
Grant amount: £151,551.00

Almost 2,000 babies born each year in the UK are diagnosed with cerebral palsy.1,2 They face lifelong difficulties with movement and coordination. Many start to have problems with their hips during childhood, which can cause pain and reduce mobility. Dr Adam Shortland, of Guy’s Hospital, London, is developing a new way to screen for these hip...

Brain damage at birth: could a diabetes medicine be protective?

Research date: 1 May 2017 - 30 April 2020
Grant amount: £193,585.00

Latest data suggests over 1,200 babies develop a life-threatening brain condition called neonatal encephalopathy (NE) each year in the UK.1,2 Often caused by a shortage of oxygen to the brain around the time of birth, NE puts babies’ lives in immediate danger. Those who survive can be left with lifelong disabilities. Cooling a baby’s...

Helping children in special schools to overcome vision problems

Research date: 1 March 2016 - 28 February 2019
Grant amount: £189,315.00

Over 100,000 children and young people attend special schools in the UK.1-4 They are more likely than other children to have vision problems, but evidence suggests their problems often go unrecognised and untreated.5 Professor Kathryn Saunders, of Ulster University, is investigating the benefits of assessing children’s vision within the familiar...

Cerebral palsy: helping severely disabled children who use their eyes to communicate

Research date: 1 February 2016 - 30 November 2018
Grant amount: £88,438.00

Estimates suggest around one in every 400 children in the UK has cerebral palsy.1 These young people will experience lifelong difficulties with movement and co-ordination, and in some cases they may also have other difficulties, such as learning disabilities. For some children with severe physical disabilities and no speech, communicating through talking...

Cerebral palsy: seizing the power of the body’s natural healing processes to repair brain damage

Research date: 13 April 2015 - 12 April 2018
Grant amount: £199,356.00

Estimates suggest around one in every 400 children has cerebral palsy in the UK.1 They will experience lifelong difficulties with movement and coordination. While some children have only minor problems, others can be severely disabled. Although treatment helps, sadly there is no cure. Dr Veronique Miron, of the University of Edinburgh, is searching for...

Cerebral palsy: can exercises that strengthen calf muscles make walking easier for teenagers?

Research date: 2 August 2015 - 1 August 2018
Grant amount: £249,847.00

Estimates suggest around one in every 400 children has cerebral palsy in the UK.1 They will experience lifelong problems with movement and coordination, which vary greatly from one child to another. If children learn to walk, it’s important to help them maintain this ability for as long as possible. Dr Jennifer Ryan, of Brunel University London, is...

Brain damage at birth: could drug treatment help babies who need cooling therapy?

Research date: 23 March 2015 - 31 August 2017
Grant amount: £199,355.00

Estimates suggest around 700,000 of the world’s babies die or develop disabilities each year because of a condition called neonatal encephalopathy (NE), which can leave the brain permanently damaged.1 Often caused by a shortage of oxygen to the brain, NE puts a baby’s life in immediate danger. Cooling a baby’s temperature down for three...

Cerebral palsy: searching for a better way to predict children’s future needs and abilities

Research date: 1 December 2013 - 30 September 2017
Grant amount: £37,500.00

Around 1,800 babies are diagnosed with cerebral palsy every year in the UK. 1 They will experience lifelong difficulties with movement and coordination. The severity of these difficulties varies greatly from one child to another, and parents are often keen to know exactly how their own baby’s life will be affected – whether they’ll be...

Fetal growth restriction: new hope for babies whose growth becomes dangerously slow in the womb

Research date: 1 May 2014 - 30 June 2016
Grant amount: £199,962.00

Up to eight per cent of pregnant women find their baby develops fetal growth restriction – a serious complication of pregnancy, which can be very dangerous for unborn babies.1 Sadly, the most severely affected babies can be stillborn or die soon after birth. Those who survive are at risk of developing lifelong problems such as cerebral palsy and...

Cerebral palsy: how a smart phone app for pre-school children might help with rehabilitation

Research date: 1 April 2013 - 31 August 2016
Grant amount: £109,372.00

Around one in 1,300 newborn babies has hemiplegic cerebral palsy, the most common form of cerebral palsy.1 Children with this condition have difficulty controlling the movement of one side of their body, especially their arm, hand and fingers. Professor Janet Eyre, of Newcastle University, is designing an application (app) for smart phones and tablets...

Other related information

Exercise to help children with cerebral palsy

Posted: 26 March 2018 11:16 am
Daily physical activity is important for healthy growth and development. But sadly, that’s not always easy for children with cerebral palsy – the commonest childhood physical disability. Children with cerebral palsy face lifelong difficulties with movement and coordination. While problems vary from child to child, many children with...

Helping children like Tom

Posted: 27 March 2017 11:36 am
Tom was less than a year old when he was diagnosed with quadriplegic cerebral palsy. Everyday life is challenging for him and he will need a lifetime of care. But, as his mum Maria explains, he is a bright and determined little boy, who refuses to let his disability define him. “Tom is really funny and very brave and wants to be involved in...

Pippa swaps her wheelchair for two wheels to ride in Rohan’s memory

Posted: 25 April 2016 07:56 am
A Tamworth woman has been inspired to swap four wheels for two to tackle a 20-mile bike ride in memory of her friend’s son. Pippa Bellis, who has athetoid cerebral palsy, meaning all four of her limbs have involuntary movements, will be cycling from Markeaton Park to Elvaston Castle and back again on Sunday, 8 May, in aid of UK-wide children...

Action for children like Alfie

Posted: 25 August 2015 14:32 pm
Alfie suffered devastating brain damage at birth and has severe cerebral palsy. He is a bright boy who loves jokes but having fun can be a daily struggle. Sadly, he is often in pain and family life revolves around medical appointments and managing his day-to-day care, as mum Sam explains. Now eight, Alfie has quadriplegia, which means all his limbs are...

Promising steps ahead for teenagers with cerebral palsy

Posted: 30 July 2015 13:37 pm
A new trial exercise programme for teenagers with cerebral palsy starts in London on 3 August. The programme will involve up to 60 young people aged 12-19. Children’s charity Action Medical Research and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy Charitable Trust are jointly funding the three year study. Estimates suggest around one in every 400...

Protecting vulnerable newborn babies from brain damage

Posted: 21 April 2015 15:39 pm
Researchers funded by Action are investigating how a new medicine used in combination with cooling therapy could significantly reduce the risk of brain damage and cerebral palsy. Natasha wasn’t able to hold her daughter until she was five days old, so cuddles are even more precious now. Baby Sophie was born blue and totally unresponsive due to...

Ingenious chair: new-found freedom for disabled children

Posted: 8 January 2013 17:59 pm
An ingenious chair for disabled children who have frequent spasms could be available for use within the next few years. Funding from children’s charity Action Medical Research has supported researchers working on its development.

The unique chair moves with children during spasms. It gives these disabled children relief from...

Action Medical Research celebrates 60 years of top medical research investment in London

Posted: 5 January 2012 10:59 am
Children’s charity Action Medical Research is celebrating investing more than £100 million into vital medical research over the past 60 years, which has led to some key scientific breakthroughs to help reduce the suffering of sick babies and children. Research funded over the years has included pioneering work carried out across a variety of...

Leeds researchers granted over £60,000 to study the influence of light and sound on children with movement difficulties

Posted: 22 February 2011 14:30 pm
Researchers in Leeds have just been awarded a grant of over £60,000 by Action Medical Research – the leading UK-wide medical research charity dedicated to helping babies and children.The charity has been supporting significant medical breakthroughs for nearly 60 years, and today announced its latest round of funding to top research institutes at...

Transforming the life of Riley

Posted: 23 February 2009 11:31 am
Riley's storyBeing able to sit comfortably is something most children and their parents take for granted. But for some children with severe disabities, like five-year-old Riley Runciman, sitting in a standard seat or wheelchair can actually be a frightening and painful experience.Riley, from Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, had a very traumatic birth. Serious...

Ways to get joints moving

Posted: 1 June 2007 00:00 am
If a child has cerebral palsy it means that they are unable to control some of the muscles in their body in the normal way. They may not be able to walk, talk, eat or play in the same way as other children.This is due to restricted movement in the joints (contractures), the child being unable to bend or straighten them fully. The main aim of treatment...

My story - An adult perspective

Posted: 1 March 2006 00:00 am
“When I’m asked how cerebral palsy has affected me, I always have to think about my answer carefully, because there is very little that I can’t do”, Julie says. And when you learn that Julie is a working mother of two, living in Surrey with her husband, daughters aged nine and 13, two cats and a hamster, you realise that this must...

A step in the right direction

Posted: 1 November 2005 00:00 am
Cerebral palsy affects around 1 in every 500 children, about 90% of whom develop foot deformities that can affect walking, and may even require surgery. ^The anatomy of the human foot is amazingly complex and our understanding of how it works, particularly during walking, is limited.^ Because of this, the treatment of foot deformity in cerebral palsy has...

Cerebral palsy

Posted: 1 November 2005 00:00 am
Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the areas of the brain that control movement, and in the UK one baby in every 500 is born with the condition. In bilateral cerebral palsy both sides of the body are affected, and these children are at particular risk of developing hip problems, including dislocation, which can lead to pain, limited movement and may...

Cerebral palsy

Posted: 1 September 2002 00:00 am
The Charity has extended its funding to Chailey Heritage Clinical Services in Lewes, East Sussex, with a grant of almost £150,000. This means that the total support from Action Medical Research to the acclaimed facility has now exceeded half a million pounds. The new study will be using state-of-the-art equipment to help improve children’s...
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