Cerebral Palsy Blog

Cerebral Palsy Blog

Could Cerebral Palsy Run in Families?

Thursday, July 03, 2014

New evidence points to a possible link between families and cerebral palsy. The study which was published by The BMJ found that babies who are born into families where there is already a person with cerebral palsy have the highest risk of developing the condition themselves.

This is not the first time that studies have pointed to a link between family, and the development of cerebral palsy. However, according to the research which was conducted by a team of Norway scientists, the positive findings earlier were hard to replicate. In the study, the researchers investigated the recurrence of cerebral palsy in families in which there was already one person with the condition, to determine whether there were hereditary patterns at work here.

The study involved approximately 2 million Norwegians born between 1957 and 2002. The researchers found a total of 3,649 cases of cerebral palsy, which worked out to a rate of 1.8 for every 1000 children. The rate was found to be higher among twins with a rate of 5.1 per 1000 births compared to a rate of 1.7 for every 1000 births among non-twins.

Among twins of affected children, the risks were higher. If one parent developed the condition, the risk that the child would also develop the condition, was roughly 15 times higher. Among families that already had one child with cerebral palsy, the risk was higher for subsequent siblings. First-degree relatives had a cerebral palsy risk that was 6 to 9 times higher, and second-degree relatives had a degree that was approximately 3 times higher.

The researchers believe that over time, as more children with cerebral palsy have the opportunity to become parents themselves, any further link between families and cerebral palsy will be investigated more thoroughly.