Ataxic cerebral palsy is a relatively rare form of the disorder, affecting about 5 to 10 percent of sufferers.
Ataxic cerebral palsy is caused when damage to the cerebellum of the brain occurs.
The cerebellum is the control center for balance and coordination, and coordinates the actions for
different groups of muscles. Ataxic cerebral palsy therefore affects coordination of movement. Ataxic
cerebral palsy usually affects all four limbs and the trunk.
Ataxic cerebral palsy is caused by abnormal brain development or by brain damage. Infections in either
the mother or the unborn baby and exposure to toxins can cause the fetal brain to develop abnormally.
-Bleeding in the unborn baby’s brain can lead to brain damage. Bleeding in the brain is generally
caused by strokes. Occasionally blood clots form in the placenta, causing ischemic strokes.
-When a mother has high blood pressure her unborn baby is at greater risk of stroke. High blood
pressure during pregnancy is common, since the growing baby is putting extra stress on the
mother’s system. Infections in the mother are yet another cause of stroke in the unborn baby;
inflammatory pelvic disease is especially risky for the fetus.
-The womb and the placenta may be infected by maternal viral infections. During an infection the
body produces more cytokines (a type of immune cell) which in turn produce inflammation.
Inflammation fights infection, but it may damage the fetal brain.
-Fetal brain damage can also occur if the brain is deprived of oxygen for any span of time. Oxygen
deprivation can happen at any time during the pregnancy. Tearing or rupturing of the uterus can
also cause oxygen deprivation, so can damage to the placenta or umbilical cord. Lack of oxygen is
also caused when the mother’s blood pressure is too low.
For answers to questions regarding cerebral palsy please contact us at 856-428-1236.