Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's Son Dies at 26: What Causes Cerebral Palsy?
Zain Nadella was born with Cerebral Palsy. He passed away on the morning of Monday, 28 February.
The Quint DAILY
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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's son, Zain Nadella passed away on Monday, 28 February. Zain was born with Cerebral Palsy. Since taking on the role of CEO in 2014, Satya Nadella had emphasised heavily on creating products to help those with disabilities, citing his son as the inspiration.
What causes Cerebral Palsy? How can it be treated?
What is Cerebral Palsy?
WebMD defines cerebral palsy or CP as “a disorder that affects one’s movement and muscle tone.” In certain cases, the condition also affects sight, hearing and sensation in a patient.
Experts have identified four different types of CP, namely:
Spastic Cerebral Palsy - In this case, the muscles are either too stiff or tight. The muscles might also spasm (involuntary contraction of muscles).
Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy - Here the movement of the muscles is uncontrollable, ranging from too slow to jerky and quick. When the facial muscles are affected, the patient might find it difficult to speak.
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy - This type makes it difficult for patients to walk as it affects the nerves responsible for balance and coordination in the body. Such patients might walk unsteadily and also shake a lot.
Mixed Cerebral Palsy - In this case, patients usually suffer from more than one type of CP.
Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy
Experts say that the symptoms of this condition may vary from person to person, ranging from being less to more severe over a period of time. The symptoms usually vary depending on which part of the brain gets affected.
Dr Ridhimaa Jain, Consultant, Paediatric Neurology, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, says:
The most common and distinctive symptom of cerebral palsy in children is a delay in attaining developmental milestones.
Milestones are in different domains and include those of movement like sitting, standing, walking, etc., finer movements like grasping objects, scribbling, eating with a spoon, etc., speech like producing sounds, babbling, speaking meaningful words, or social like recognizing parents.
So if any child is not doing what a child of his age would be expected to be doing, seeking medical opinion is warranted.
In adults, the following symptoms may be observed:
The muscles may be too stiff or too loose
Lack of coordination and balance
Spasms or involuntary movements
Tilting or relying on one side of the body more than another
In certain cases, there could also be difficulties in the development of intelligence and partial or complete blindness.
Causes of Cerebral Palsy
Usually cerebral palsy is caused either by an abnormal development of the brain or when there an injury to a developing brain. While in many cases, the exact cause of CP is unknown, the damage to the brain can occur either before birth or in the early years after birth.
Experts say some of the causes may include:
Lack of oxygen supply to the brain during birth
Abnormal gene mutations
Brain infections like encephalitis
Who is at Risk?
Dr Ridhimaa says that any complication during pregnancy upto till the baby is few years old puts the baby at risk of developing cerebral palsy. Proper care and timely medical evaluations can help decrease this risk.
Ensure to consult your obstetrician as soon as you suspect you have conceived. Proper antenatal checkup and treatment of any arising complications at the earliest is needed. Be prepared for delivery of your baby. Choose a hospital which is near to you, preferably where you have been following up throughout pregnancy so that your doctor is aware of your history and can handle any problems immediately. Ensure you vaccinate your baby on time too.
Treatment & Prevention of Cerebral Palsy
Dr Jain says that a child’s brain grows maximally up to 2 years and 90% by 5 years. So earlier a child receives interventions, the better progress s/he shows.
What works to treat Cerebral Palsy is regular, intensive and long-term therapies like physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and special education. Therapies basically involve exercises and tasks to train and develop the child’s brain. Certain drugs can also help control fits and manage abnormal behavior.
The treatment generally aims to reduce the limitations associated with the condition and prevents further complications.
Assistive aids like wheelchairs, hearing aids, walking sticks might help the patient to cope with the condition in a better manner. Speech and physical therapies also help patients in addition to the medications prescribed by the doctor.
Surgical procedure may only be opted in certain cases for pain relief or to improve mobility.
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