Children's Health

Prevalence of cerebral palsy is declining in Australia

New research published in Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology indicates that fewer babies in Australia are being born with cerebral palsy, a lifelong disorder of movement and posture resulting from injury or maldevelopment of the developing brain.

According to Australian Cerebral Palsy Register data on singleton births from 1995 to 2014, the prevalence of cerebral palsy at or around the time of birth declined from 1.8 per 1,000 live births in 1995–96 to 1.2 per 1,000 live births in 201314. Declines occurred across all gestational ages, with the largest decline observed amongst children born < 28 weeks’ gestation. The prevalence of moderate-severe disability amongst children with cerebral palsy also declined for children born <28 and ≥37 weeks.

These findings are encouraging and importantly show the cumulative impact of interventions that support maternal and perinatal well-being” said

Hayley Smithers-Sheedy, PhD, Lead Author, The University of Sydney

Journal reference:

Smithers-Sheedy, H., et al. (2022) Declining trends in birth prevalence and severity of singletons with cerebral palsy of prenatal or perinatal origin in Australia: A population-based observational study. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology.

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