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Cerebral palsy: the whys and hows
  1. Charlie Fairhurst
  1. Department of Paediatric Neurosciences, Evelina Children's Hospital, Guy's and Saint Thomas' Foundation trust, Kings Health Partners, London SE1 9RT
  1. Correspondence to Dr Charlie Fairhurst, Department of Paediatric Neurodisability, Evelina Children's Hospital, Guy's and Saint Thomas' Foundation NHS trust, London SE1 9RT, UK; charlie.fairhurst{at}


The descriptive term of cerebral palsy encompasses the largest group of childhood movement disorders. Severity and pattern of clinical involvement varies widely dependent on the area of the central nervous system compromised. A multidisciplinary team approach is vital for all the aspects of management to improve function and minimise disability. From a medical viewpoint, there are two pronged approaches. First a focus on developmental and clinical comorbidities such as communication, behaviour, epilepsy, feeding problems, gastro-oesophageal reflux and infections; and second on specifics of muscle tone, motor control and posture. With regards to the latter, there is an increasing number of available treatments including oral antispasticity and antidystonic medications, injectable botulinum toxin, multilevel orthopaedic and neurosurgical options and a variety of complementary and alternative therapies.

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.