The Royal Children’s Hospital treats more than 600 children with cerebral palsy every year at the Queensland Cerebral Palsy Health Service. The service also provides outreach clinics to major regional centres throughout Queensland and funds physiotherapy positions at four regional centres including Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton and Gold Coast in addition to physiotherapy and occupational therapy positions at the Mater Children’s Hospital.
Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common childhood physical disability occurring in 1 in 500 young Australians each year. Research estimates that every 18 hours, a child is born with cerebral palsy in Australia.
Cerebral palsy is a complex and often highly debilitating condition that can place a huge strain on the health system, families and most of all, individuals with cerebral palsy. The costs associated with CP across a lifetime are in excess of $2 million per child.
The Queensland Cerebral Palsy and Rehabilitation Research Centre is using advanced brain imaging to help answer some of the most burning questions about how the brain injury occurs and evolves in babies and young children with cerebral palsy. In November 2009, the first MRI compatible incubator in the Southern Hemisphere was delivered and opened new worlds for cerebral palsy research.
The Queensland Cerebral Palsy Child study – an expansion of a Victorian study – continues to examine the relationship between the nature and extent of a child’s original brain injury and how it affects their early motor, hip, feeding, language and cognitive development.
In an Australian first, researchers, in collaboration with the Children’s Nutrition Research Centre, continue to look at the impact of growth, nutrition and physical activity on secondary brain development in children with cerebral palsy.