Understanding the trends, prevalence and causes of cerebral palsy across multiple populations.

Epidemiology literally translates to “the study of people”. It is the branch of medicine and research that studies and analyses the incidence, distribution and causes of a condition in a population. It is a cornerstone of public health, and shapes policy decisions and evidence based practice. Researchers do this by measuring outcomes following changes in practice, identifying risk factors and causes for a condition and identifying targets for preventive healthcare.

Epidemiology research in cerebral palsy uses large population datasets (CP Registers) to better understand the causes of CP, identify new avenues for prevention, and report trends about the rate and severity of CP over time. This helps us to identify if treatments and prevention strategies are working for a whole population. Learnings and infrastructure from CP Registers in one population (e.g. Australia) can be used as a platform for other populations (e.g. Low- and Middle-Income Countries).

Current focus areas for epidemiology research in relation to CP:

    • Cerebral Palsy Registers – reporting trends in Australia and around the globe
    • Prevention of cCMV (congenital cytomegalovirus), a known cause of CP
    • Identifying new causal pathways to CP, particularly, better understanding of the genetic contribution to CP

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