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Cerebral Palsy and Related Disorders: A Developmental Approach to Dysfunction

Bernard J. Alpers, M.D.
JAMA. 1961;175(12):1113. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040120075033.
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This book defines cerebral palsy as "one component of a group of childhood neurologic disorders which reflect cerebral dysfunction rather than damage per se and which may result from cerebral maldevelopment, infection, injury, or anoxia before or during birth or in the early years of life. Delayed maturation or even intense emotional stress can also be causative. The individual clinical syndromes which make up these pediatric neurologic disabilities are cerebral palsy, mental retardation, epilepsy, and the hyperkinetic behavior disorder. Childhood schizophrenia may possibly be included. A variety of sensory disturbances are usually found independently. Collectively, these conditions are called the syndromes of cerebral dysfunction."

The authors emphasize the role of cerebral dysfunction in an effort to move away from the purely structural concept of cerebral palsy. In doing so, they designate cerebral palsies as physiologic, under which are listed spasticity, athetosis, and rigidity; topographic, with subdivisions of monoplegia, paraplegia, and


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