Australian CP Register announces 30% reduction in the rate and severity of CP - thanks to research collaboration across the globe

11 February 2021

Cerebral Palsy (CP) is the fifth most expensive health condition in Australia. The ensuing disability/costs of care incur significant health and long term social costs (0.14% GDP, AU$1.47b p.a., with average yearly costs AU$43,431 per individual). Outputs from the Australasian Cerebral Palsy Clinical Trials Network have contributed towards the Australian Cerebral Palsy Register, the largest register world-wide (>9,500 persons with CP currently enrolled). The rate of CP has fallen from 1 in 400, to 1 in 700 live births, due multifactorial and concerted team effort across Australia of families, clinicians and researchers in the areas of public health, obstetrics and midwifery, neonatology, paediatrics and of course epidemiology. The expert team has known for some time that there are many causes and complex pathways to CP, and they change over time. The declinie in CP means that potentially 200 children who would have had CP born in 2020 in Australia will not have CP with ongoing savings to the health system and families. This reduction is due to improvements in education around healthy pregnancies, maternal & neonatal care especially in high-risk pregnancies, neuroprotection, brain repair and rehabilitation soon after the injury. In addition, the report from ACPR has indicated that the severity of CP in children has become milder, which that 2 out 3 children living with CP are able to walk without assistive equipment and more than 50% did not have an intellectual disability. The AusCP-CTN is utilising the ACPR and NZ CP registers to monitor improved early detection of CP, conduct earlier clinical trials, test curative agents, and efficacy of early brain rehabilitation on outcomes at 5 years when children are ascertained with CP. 

Find out more about the 2020 ACPR Bulletin.