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What is choreoathetoid cerebral palsy?

Related Topics: Cerebral Palsy

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Choreoathetoid cerebral palsy is associated with abnormal, uncontrollable, writhing movements of the arms and/or legs. Different from spastic cerebral palsy, persons with choreoathetoid cerebral palsy have variable muscle tone often with decreased muscle tone (hypotonia). Contractures of extremities are less common. The abnormal movements are activated by stress, as well as by normal emotional reactions such as laughing. Any attempt to do voluntary movements -- for example, extending the arm in an attempt to reach an object -- might result in many involuntary movements in arms, legs, trunk, and even the face. There are different types of abnormal movements. Two of the most common are choreoathetotic movement disorder with rapid, irregular, unpredictable contractions of individual or small muscle groups, and dystonia with a persistent but not permanent abnormal posture of some body parts (arms, legs, trunk) due to abnormal muscle contractions. The dystonic disorder also affects the muscle of the facial expression, swallowing, deglutition and speech, resulting in severe functional deficiencies.

These movements can be quite debilitating and greatly limit the child's ability to perform many motor tasks. Furthermore, the movements are akin to constant exercise, thereby causing the affected child to metabolize a huge number of calories. Choreoathetoid cerebral palsy is often associated with damage to specialized brain structures that are involved in movement control -- the basal ganglia. Like spastic cerebral palsy, the degree of symptom severity often varies, from mild to severely affected.

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Archived: March 20, 2014

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Read the Original Article: Cerebral Palsy