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May 2002

First, Observe the Patient

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2002;156(5):422-423. doi:10.1001/archpedi.156.5.422

More things are missed by not looking than by not seeing.—Arnold J. Capute, MD

CEREBRAL PALSY (CP) is a disorder of movement and postural control that is caused by a defect or lesion of the developing brain. The brain defect or lesion is static (not progressive), though the clinical manifestations of the defect can be expected to change as the brain develops and the child grows. The resulting functional limitations and their effects on the activities of the individual become the disability. The prevalence of CP is about 2 per 1000 live births, with just over half occurring in children who were born at term.1,2 While the risk for CP is much higher in children born prematurely, there are some data suggesting that the previously increasing prevalence in this group may now be decreasing.3,4

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