More young adults with cerebral palsy report a better quality of life than ever before, a new study has revealed.
The report, published in the peer-reviewed journal Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, shows that quality of life is now comparable to people in the general population.
Despite significant advancements in care and treatments, people with cerebral palsy continue to suffer from higher levels of pain, fatigue, and reduced sleep in older age.
According to the study, children and adolescents with cerebral palsy report a worsening health-related quality of life (HRQoL) as they age, while adults report a lower HRQoL compared to people without cerebral palsy.
The researchers noted, however, that those with cerebral palsy who report higher levels of physical activity typically experience reduced fatigue.
Participants’ physical aptitude was categorised using the Gross Motor Function Classification System – Expanded and Revised (GMFCS-ER).
The condition can also have a major psychological and mental health impact, with those living with cerebral palsy reporting extreme sleep deprivation and isolation.
Commenting on the paper, the authors said: “This study found that general HRQoL in young adults with CP was comparable to that of population norms, but while physical health was better in individuals in GMFCS levels I to II, mental health was reported as poorer.
“Pain and fatigue are important to address in high motor-functioning individuals also. Finally, physical activity could be a possible protective factor against fatigue.”
According to the latest figures, around one in 400 children are born with cerebral palsy, a life-long condition which impacts on mobility, balance, vision and hearing.