Cerebral Palsy - Diagnosis

Cerebral palsy is usually diagnosed using the described developmental milestones. Using these milestones, most children with CP can be diagnosed by the age of eighteen months. However, differences in the rate of development and the presence of other medical problems must always be taken into account.

Certain tests can also be used to diagnose CP. The Apgar test is used with newborn babies. It measures the newborn's heart rate, cry, color, muscle tone, and motor (muscular) reactions. An Apgar score of less than three (out of a possible ten) is a warning sign that the baby may have cerebral palsy. Babies with abnormal organs or abnormal behaviors may also have CP. A variety of tests, such as an ultrasound test, can be used to diagnose these problems.

As in most medical cases, tests can also be performed to rule out potential problems other than cerebral palsy. X rays can be used to look for abnormal structures in the brain, for example, and blood tests can be used to check for infection.

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