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Did Your Newborn Suffer Cerebral
Palsy or Another Brain Injury Before
or During Labor and Delivery?

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Our Birth Brain Injury Resource Guide

the guide

Get a FREE guide of resources available throughout Ohio to children and families of children who were born with brain injuries.

Our guide can help you build a foundation of knowledge and tools that will help you help your child
now and in the future.

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Neuropsychological Assessment and Rehabilitation of BI - Comorbid Factors

Comorbidity factors are a concern with infants with brain injuries at birth. The presence of two or more conditions can impact diagnosis, prognosis, and rehabilitation.

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. For example, cerebral palsy, a common condition that occurs from a brain injury at birth often associated with motor dysfunction, may present with signs of autism. Determining the nature of intellectual disabilities can be challenging. Children who have cerebral palsy are at risk for pervasive development disorders, which are often associated with complications before, during, or after birth.

The association between traumatic brain injury (TBI) and preterm birth has been well-documented. Premature infants have less developed neurological structures and are more prone to respiratory distress, which can starve the brain of oxygen.

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Associated conditions can include primary ones directly related to brain abnormalities. In cases of cerebral palsy, these may be motor coordination, balance, motor control, and speech functioning. Secondary comorbid factors include difficulty swallowing, breathing, controlling bowels, and communicating. Each TBI patient is unique based on the nature of their injury, its effects, and the range of conditions that are associated with it.

Neurological assessments, and rehabilitation and therapeutic plans, therefore must proceed with various considerations in mind. Factors increasing the chances of comorbidity include premature birth. Injuries to the language centers of the brain are associated with dysphasia, which requires various types of speech pathology intervention and other treatments. Patients with trouble swallowing are often at risk for aspiration pneumonia, but early detection of the issue can aid later rehabilitation.

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, or oxygen deprivation, is a factor related to comorbidity. Infants may suffer organ failure and dysfunction. Contributing factors include a ruptured uterus, detached placenta, umbilical cord prolapses, or an amniotic fluid embolism, in which the fluid enters the mother’s blood stream and triggers bleeding and cardiorespiratory collapse (another major risk for infants). Assessment of cerebral injuries via MRI scanning can find encephalopathy and other conditions, but the timing of the event is often uncertain, and complete data may not be available, making it hard to assess the problem and determine a course of action. Awareness of all factors involved can help identify issues leading to infant brain injury and comorbid factors sooner, which can make a difference.