Cerebral Palsy alternative treatment by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
April 2 2015

Cerebral palsy, a range of non-progressive syndromes of posture and motor impairment, is a common cause of disability in childhood. Cerebral palsy results from various areas of damage to different areas within the developing nervous system, which partly explains the variability of clinical findings. Signs of cerebral palsy usually appear before the age of three. The severity of symptoms varies. There is no cure but drugs can help to control seizures and spasms along with physical, occupational and behavioral therapy. Two out of every 1,000 children in the US has cerebral palsy.

Cerebral Palsy treatment, medical options
The treatment of cerebral palsy is directed at repair of the injured brain and at the management of the impairments and disabilities resulting from developmental brain injury. Currently, there are no clinically meaningful interventions that can successfully repair existing damage to the brain areas that control muscle coordination and movement. Management options include physiotherapy, occupational and speech therapy, orthotics, device-assisted modalities, pharmacological intervention, and orthopedic and neurosurgical procedures. Since 1980, modification of spasticity by means of orally administered drugs, intramuscular chemodenervation agents (alcohol, phenol, botulinum toxin A), intrathecally administered drugs (baclofen), and surgery (neurectomy, rhizotomy) has become more frequent.

Natural options for Cerebral Palsy
 by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
Traditional medical techniques (physiotherapy, bracing, and orthopedic musculoskeletal surgery) remain the mainstay of treatment strategies at this time. Limited research indicates acupuncture, biofeedback, may offer slight benefits.
   The addition of an exercise training program to the standard care of children and adolescents with cerebral palsy improves their physical fitness and quality of life.

Do you have any opinions or suggested natural remedies (herbal, mineral, vitamin-nutrient) that might offset the spastic muscles of a cerebral palsy patient of age 9? Most prescription drugs for this are creating too many side effects and much “zombie” like states. Any general advices or areas of research into this would be much appreciated!
    I have not studied this topic in detail but will keep my eyes open for such research.

Cerebral Palsy and Infections
Exposure to certain viral infections around the time of birth is linked to cerebral palsy. Findings by researchers at the University of Adelaide suggest that neurotropic infections -- viral infections that target nerves, which include the herpes viruses, mumps and measles -- could trigger brain damage and cerebral palsy, a group of disorders that impairs the control of movement. The risk of cerebral palsy is nearly doubled with exposure to the herpes B viruses, but other factors such as a susceptibility to infection or prematurity may be needed for the disorder to develop.

Cerebral Palsy Cause
There is a higher incidence of cerebral palsy with in vitro fertilization. The reason more children born after in vitro fertilization (IVF) have a higher than average risk of cerebral palsy is largely due to the association between IVF and preterm delivery.

Cerebral Palsy Research
Children with cerebral palsy often suffer from uncontrolled drooling, but this can be reduced with an injection of Botox. A scopolamine patch -- sometimes used for controlling motion sickness -- helps reduce drooling, too, but the Botox treatments are associated with fewer and less serious side effects.

Randomised control trial of tongue acupuncture versus sham acupuncture in improving functional outcome in cerebral palsy.
J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2004.
Traditional Chinese medicine has been used historically in the treatment of cerebral palsy. We investigated the efficacy of acupuncture in improving the motor function of children with cerebral palsy. A randomised control trial was conducted to assess the effect of tongue acupuncture (TAC) in 33 cerebral palsy children. The subjects were randomised to treatment (n = 22) with TAC or control (n = 11). Clinical outcome was evaluated using the gross motor function measure (GMFM) and the pediatric evaluation of disability inventory (PEDI). The increase in mean GMFM score was significantly greater in the treatment than in the control group. An improvement in motor function of cerebral palsy subjects is seen following a short course of acupuncture.

Effects of biofeedback treatment on gait in children with cerebral palsy.
Disabil Rehabil. 2004.
We evaluated the effectiveness of biofeedback treatment on gait function in children with cerebral palsy. Thirty-six children with spastic cerebral palsy and dynamic equinus deformity were included in the study. The biofeedback group consisted of 21 children who each received EMG biofeedback training plus conventional exercise programme. The control group consisted of 15 children who each received conventional exercise programme only. Active range of motion of the ankle joints, muscle tone of plantar flexors, and gait function of the children were evaluated and compared. The biofeedback group displayed statistically significant improvements regarding tonus of plantar flexor muscles and active ROM of ankle joints (p < 0.000 for all parameters). Gait function showed statistically significant progress in both of the groups, but the biofeedback group was superior to controls. Children with cerebral palsy and dynamic equinus deformities may benefit from biofeedback treatment for ambulation.

Complementary and alternative medicine use in families of children with cerebral palsy.
Hurvitz EA, Leonard C, Ayyangar R, Nelson VS.
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Pediatric Section, University of Michigan Medical Center/Charles Stewart Mott Children's Hospital, Ann Arbor, MI
Dev Med Child Neurol. 2003.
In order to assess patterns of usage of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in families of children with cerebral palsy (CP), 213 families with a child (0 to 18 years) with cerebral palsy were recruited at the university medical center in Ann Arbor, MI, USA as part of a descriptive survey. Two hundred and thirty-five surveys were distributed. Mean age of the child was 8 years 6 months (SD 4y : 9mo) and 56% of the sample was male with 35% full-time independent ambulators, while the rest used an assistive device or a wheelchair. Fifty-four percent were in special education classrooms. Families were given a survey on functional status of the child with cerebral palsy, CAM usage of the child and the parent, factors influencing the decision to use CAM, demographics, and clinical information. Of the families, 56%, used one or more CAM techniques. Massage therapy (25%) and aquatherapy (25%) were the most common. Children of families that used CAM were significantly younger than non-users. Children with quadriplegic cerebral palsy, with spasticity, and those who could not walk independently were more commonly exposed to CAM. Mothers with a college degree had a greater tendency to use CAM for their child than those without. Fathers of children who used CAM were older than fathers of those who did not . There was no significant difference between groups for mother's age, father's education, income, or for population of home town. Parents who used CAM for themselves were more likely to try CAM for their child, and were much more likely to be pleased with the outcome. Child's age (younger), lack of independent mobility, and parental use of CAM were the most significant predictive factors identified via logistic regression.

Etiologies of cerebral palsy and classical treatment possibilities
Wien Med Wochenschr. 2002.
Cerebral palsy is a non-progressive disorder of the developing brain with different etiologies in the pre-, peri- or postnatal period. The most important of these diseases is cystic periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), followed by intra- and periventricular hemorrhage, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, vascular disorders, infections or brain malformations. The underlying cause is always a damage of the first motor neuron. Prevalence of cerebral palsy in Europe is 2-3 per 1000 live births with a broad spectrum in different birth weight groups. Our own data concerning only pre-term infants in the NICU with birth weight below 1500 g (VLBW) are between 10%-20%. Established classical treatment methods include physiotherapy (Bobath, Vojta, Hippotherapy), methods of speech and occupational therapists (Castillo-Morales, Sensory Integration) and other therapeutical concepts (Peto, Affolter, Frostig).

"Whole body" mobility after one year of intraoral appliance therapy in children with cerebral palsy and moderate eating impairment.
Dysphagia. 2000.
The reciprocal influence of body postures on the oral structures, but also of the oral structures on body postures, has been proposed by clinicians and is taken into consideration when treating children with poor postural control and moderate to severe eating impairments. However, this relationship has not been rigorously investigated. The purpose of this study was to document the possible relationships among oral-motor, postural, and ambulatory control. Ambulatory skills [exclusive use of wheelchair (w/c) vs w/c and ambulation], postural control when sitting, "pathologic" reflexes, and lip and tongue posture were recorded before and after one year of therapy with an intraoral appliance (ISMAR) in 20 children with cerebral palsy and moderate eating impairment. Significant improvement occurred in sitting (head-trunk-foot control) following one year of ISMAR therapy. Ambulatory status also significantly improved above the level of maturation. Half of the children showed marked improvement in oral posture, i.e., their resting mouth posture was closed rather than open. These results support an hypothesis of interaction between oral structures and postural control of the "whole body." Further studies are needed to determine the controls of such a relationship.

Zinc sulfate in the complex treatment of children with cerebral palsy
Zhukovskaia ED, Semenova KA, Devchenkova VD, Morozova TP.
Zh Nevropatol Psikhiatr Im S S Korsakova. 1991;
Ninety-six children aged 3 to 14 years with cerebral paralysis in the form of spastic diplegia of medium and grave intensity were examined. The majority of the children showed disorders of zinc metabolism and of other types of metabolism. To correct metabolic abnormalities, 20 children received zinc sulfate in biological doses per os in addition to the main complex of treatment measures. 38 children suffering from cerebral paralysis made up the control group and were given a complex of routine rehabilitation treatment measures. It has been established that introduction of the biotic doses of zinc sulfate into the complex of therapeutic measures for children with cerebral paralysis in the form of spastic diplegia favoured the improvement of metabolic processes, the clinical health status of the children, and enhancement of the body defence properties.

Q. I have very mild cerebral palsy and may benefit from dopamine increase. I would like to try this. Which one of your herbal products would you suggest?
   A. The treatment of cerebral palsy is not an area we have studied in detail and we are not aware of the benefit of dopamine increase for this medical condition.

cerebral palsy