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Recently I went to one of my friends' home to meet her. There I saw my friend's servant maid with her daughter who had cerebral palsy. The child had numerous red coloured threads tightly tied to her wrist hampering the blood circulation and several black-coloured threads around her neck. She also had various burn marks on her forehead and other parts of her body.

I was shocked to hear that my friend's servant maid took her daughter to a witch doctor who gave her these colourful threads and told her the child would be cured of her condition if she tied them around her neck and wrist. She burned her with some 'holy fire' to get rid of 'evil spirits' that infested her body!

What's more shocking to me was my friend too supported this type of treatment. I was really agitated. I sat both of them down and gave them a thorough ... 'brainwash'.

Who knows better about the condition of a child like I saw in my friend's home? A scientist/doctor who studied various medical conditions systematically and scientifically or a witch doctor who 'imagines' things?

Who can treat the child better, a doctor whose knowledge came from genuine courses and years of learning or a crude one who 'learnt' it from his/her illiterate ancestors or from his 'stupid experiences' who knows nothing about it in the true sense?

But strangely several people, even literate ones, go to the second type of 'pseudo-doctors' who torture the already suffering children more with their ignorant behaviour. These people can never bring out the results the parents want in their children because once damaged brain cannot be brought back to its original state - science is still in an infant stage to 'cure' such conditions. Only thing you can do right now is train the child, if the damage is in a manageable state, to live in a better way.

Current research suggests the majority of "palsies"are neurological disorders that impair control of movement due to damage to the developing brain prior to birth or during delivery, malformation that occurs while the child’s brain is under development. Poor oxygen supply to the brain before, during, and immediately after birth are common factors. Premature infants are particularly vulnerable. Severe illness - such as meningitis - during the first years of life, physical trauma, and severe dehydration can cause brain injury and result in CP. Accidents, abuse, medical malpractice, negligence, infections, and injury are some known risk factors that may lead to Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral Palsy (CP) usually develops by age 2 or 3 and is a non-progressive brain disorder - that is the brain damage does not continue to worsen throughout life. Patients can reach adulthood. However, the symptoms due to the brain damage often change over time -- sometimes getting better and sometimes getting worse. CP is one of the most common causes of chronic childhood disability.  Cerebral Palsy primarily affects body movement and muscle coordination.

Some other possible causes are:

Infections during pregnancy that may damage a foetus' developing nervous system. These include rubella (German measles), cytomegalovirus (a herpes-type virus), and toxoplasmosis (an infection caused by a parasite that can be carried in cat feces or inadequately cooked meat). Other infections in pregnant women that may go undetected are being recognized now as an important cause of developmental brain damage in the foetus.
Severe jaundice in the infant is caused by excessivebilirubin in the blood. Normally, bilirubin is filtered out by the liver. But often, newborns' livers need a few days to start doing this effectively, so it's not uncommon for infants to have jaundice for a few days after birth. In most cases, phototherapy (light therapy) clears up jaundice, and there are no lasting health effects. However, in rare cases, severe, untreated jaundice can damage brain cells.
Rh incompatibility between mother and infant where the mother's body produces antibodies that destroy the foetus's blood cells. This, in turn, leads to a form of jaundice in the newborn and may cause brain damage. The physical and metabolic trauma of being born can precipitate brain damage in a foetus whose health has been threatened during development.
Severe oxygen deprivation to the brain or significant trauma to the head during labour and delivery is another cause for brain injury.

Some risk factors that increase the possibility that a child will later be diagnosed with CP include: breech births (with the feet, knees, or buttocks coming out first), vascular or respiratory problems in the infant during birth, physical birth defects such as faulty spinal bone formation, groin hernias, or an abnormally small jaw bone, receiving a low Apgar score 10 to 20 minutes after delivery. An Apgar test is used to make a basic, immediate determination of a newborn's physical health. For the test, the infant's heart rate, breathing, muscle tone, reflexes, and color are evaluated and given a score from 0 (low) to 2 (normal), a low birth weight (less than 2,500 grams, or 5 lbs. 7.5 oz.) and premature birth (born less than 37 weeks into pregnancy), being a twin or part of a multiple birth, a congenital nervous system malformation, such as an abnormally small head (microcephaly), seizures shortly after birth, mothers who had bleeding or severe proteinuria (excess protein in the urine) late in their pregnancy have a higher chance of having a baby with CP, as do mothers who have hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, mental retardation, or seizures.

Depending on the extent of the damage to the brain, symptoms vary from person to person. Even timing of the injury - whether the brain is still in the earlier stages  or in the last stage of development dictates a person's disabilities.

 An individual with Cerebral Palsy will likely show signs of physical impairment. However, the type of movement dysfunction, the location and number of limbs involved, as well as the extent of impairment, will vary from one individual to another. It can affect arms, legs, and even the face; it can affect one limb, several, or all. Cerebral Palsy affects muscles and a person’s ability to control them. Muscles can contract too much, too little, or all at the same time. Limbs can be stiff and forced into painful, awkward positions. Fluctuating muscle contractions can make limbs tremble, shake, or writhe. Balance, posture, and coordination can also be affected by Cerebral Palsy. Tasks such as walking, sitting, or tying shoes may be difficult for some, while others might have difficulty grasping objects. Other complications, such as intellectual impairment, seizures, and vision or hearing impairment also commonly accompany Cerebral Palsy. Between 35% and 50% of all children with CP will have an accompanying seizure disorder and some level of mental disorder. They also may have learning disabilities and vision, speech, hearing, or language problems.

Every case of cerebral palsy is unique to the individual. One person may have total paralysis and require constant care, while another with partial paralysis might have slight movement tremors but require little assistance. 

Cerebral Palsy is damage to the brain that cannot currently be fixed. Treatment and therapy help manage effects on the body.

The injury and damage to the brain is permanent. The brain does not “heal” as other parts of the body might. Because of this, the Cerebral Palsy itself will not change for better or worse during a person’s lifetime. On the other hand, associative conditions may improve or worsen over time.

The impairment caused by Cerebral Palsy is manageable. In other words, treatment, therapy, surgery, medications and assistive technology can help maximize independence, reduce barriers, increase inclusion and thus lead to an enhanced quality of life.

The effects of Cerebral Palsy are long-term, not temporary. An individual diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy will have the condition for his/her entire life.

After knowing all this, now tell me, can a few threads tied to the hand cure the condition? You are just wasting your money by giving it to a 'witch doctor'! Can torturing an already suffering child be justifiable, when you know you cannot 'cure' a brain damage?

Think about this and take an informed decision.  Try to prevent such things from happening by taking all precautions.

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