Causes of Cerebral Palsy: Origins, Etiology, Aetiology, Causal Pathways
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
“If infections such as rubella (German Measles), toxoplasmosis (a disease caused by the invasion of parasitic microorganisms), and the virus known as cytomegalovirus are contracted by a women during pregnancy, injury to the fetus’s brain may result. Rubella can be prevented by immunization (a woman should be immunized before becoming pregnant), and the chances of becoming infected with toxoplasmosis can be minimized by not handling the feces of cats and by avoiding raw or undercooked meat.…Many other infections in the expectant mother can also injure the developing fetus, but they are overlooked as a cause of CP in the newborn because the woman who has the infection either does not recognize the symptoms of infection or is symptom-free.”

-Miller & Bachrach

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is one of many infectious agents that can contribute to causing cerebral palsy, though mental retardation is more often the result. The virus cytomegalovirus, though its effect on the mother may be mild, can lead brain damage resulting in CP. The mild parasitic infection toxoplasmosis may also go unnoticed by the pregnant mother yet may manifest itself in trauma not evidenced until months after birth. It has even been noted that mothers eating cheese containing listeria have given birth to infants later evidencing cerebral palsy.

Though premature infants are inevitably at additional risk than a full term baby, a number of factors involving infection can increase the changes of a full term infant contracting cerebral palsy by nine times. These variables include infections of the amniotic fluid, placenta, urinary tracks, chorioamnioitis or infections that include the membrane surrounding the fetus, and the amniotic sac. If the mother exhibits a fever of over 100.4 Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), then another important risk factor needs to be taken under consideration.

Once it has been concluded that the pregnant mother is exhibiting risk factors associated with cerebral palsy, such as potential inflammation in the amniotic fluid, intervention is an option. The invasive testing of all natal environments for infections and the potential complications of infection is neither desirable or appropriate. Proceeding prudently, once the tests are completed, if positive, then a search for the source of the infection and immediate intervention can result in the diminution of this particular causal pathway resulting in CP.

Even common placental bacteria such as coagulase-negative staphylococci have recently (February, 2004) been associated with cerebral palsy. It may be that this one variable by itself has little negative upon the fetus, but in combination with other factors may increase the risk of trauma.

Four agents frequently associated with the factors leading to CP have been referred to as the TORCH group (toxoplasmocis, rubella, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex). They have the greatest negative effect upon the fetus during the first 6 months while the fetal nervous system is still in development and the ability of the infant to defend itself is still under construction.

Immunization for rubella is a powerful controllable variable that prevents CP in scores of individuals. Though successfully addressed in the developed world, there are still places on the planet where immunization alone can greatly reduce the evidence of cerebral palsy.


Miller, Freeman & Bachrach, Steven J. (1995) Cerebral Palsy: A Complete Guide for Caregiving. The John Hopkins University Press

Stanton, Marion, (2002) The Cerebral Palsy Handbook. Vermillion

Stanley, Fiona, Blair, Eve, Alberman, Eva. (2000) Cerebral Palsies: Epidemiology & Causal Pathways. Mac Keith Press

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Causes of Cerebral Palsy: Origins, Etiology, Aetiology, Causal Pathways