Comparing risks of cerebral palsy in births between Australian Indigenous and non-Indigenous mothers

Eve Blair, L. Watson, E. O'Kearney, H. D'Antoine, M.J. Delacy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 Mac Keith Press. Aim: To compare proportions of live births subsequently described as having cerebral palsy (CP), the distributions of associated impairments, and the causes of postneonatal CP between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) and non-Indigenous populations in Australia. Method: Data from statutory birth records and CP registers for the 1996 to 2005 birth cohort in Queensland, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory were stratified by Indigenous status and whether the CP was acquired pre/perinatally or postneonatally. Relative risks associated with Indigenous status were estimated and the distributions of causes of postneonatal CP compared. Results: Indigenous births had a relative risk of 4.9 (95% confidence interval [CI] 3.0-7.9) for postneonatal CP but only of 1.42 (95% CI 1.2-1.7) for pre/perinatal CP. Almost half of postneonatal CP in Indigenous infants resulted from infection, whereas for non-Indigenous infants the most frequent cause was cerebrovascular accident. The impairments of Indigenous CP and of postneonatally acquired CP tended to be more numerous and more severe. Interpretation: Indigenous children are at significantly greater risk of CP, particularly postneonatal CP. The predominant cause of postneonatal CP in non-Indigenous children has shifted to cerebrovascular accident over time; however, infections followed by head injury are still the most frequent causes in Indigenous infants. What this paper adds: Indigenous infants have a higher risk of CP than non-Indigenous infants, especially postneonatal CP. Infection causes most postneonatal CP in Indigenous infants compared with cerebrovascular accident in non-Indigenous infants. Indigenous children with CP are more likely to be non-ambulant and have more associated impairments. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-42
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental Medicine and Child Neurology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


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