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New Cerebral Palsy Center Targets Adult Patients' Lifelong Needs

In an indication of improving awareness of cerebral palsy disorders, Colombia University Medical Center unveiled a new facility to help care for affected Americans. The facility, known as the Weinberg Family Cerebral Palsy Center, aims to help break away from the current pediatrics-focused response to cerebral palsy by treating adult patients. This is an important new resource for both parents and patients.

Cerebral palsy actually includes a group of relatively poorly understood movement disorders. While scientists do not completely understand all of the causes, many children who suffer birth injuries related to oxygen starvation or premature delivery develop a cerebral palsy disorder. Cerebral palsy disorders can cause lifelong movement, speech, and cognitive impairments.

The new Weinberg Family Cerebral Palsy Center recognizes that the profile of cerebral palsy is changing. More and more patients survive into adulthood and their ongoing medical needs go beyond what pediatric cerebral palsy specialists can provide. While pediatric care has improved dramatically, those providers are often not equipped to respond to the needs of adult patients.

In addition to broader and more comprehensive care options, the center will function as an educational and research institution. For example, the center hosts a patient registry that seeks to compile data on cerebral palsy patients around the country. Hopefully this unprecedented collection of information will help researchers expand their knowledge and approach to treating and preventing cerebral palsy.

While this is an exciting development, treatment options alone will not solve the challenges faced by many cerebral palsy patients and their families. For starters, the cost of lifelong care and treatment may be an impossible burden. Parents should consult with an experienced cerebral palsy attorney to discuss whether medical malpractice may be to blame for their child's condition.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "Colombia Launches Center For Cerebral Palsy Patients," V.L. Hendrickson, Oct. 29, 2012

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