To determine if walking ability and presence of intellectual disability and epilepsy change from childhood to 50 years of age in individuals with cerebral palsy (CP), and if such changes are related to age, sex, or CP subtype.
This was a population-based follow-up study of 142 adults born from 1959 to 1978 (82 males, 60 females; mean age 48y 4mo, range 37-58y; 44% unilateral, 35% bilateral, 17% dyskinetic, and 4% ataxic CP) listed in the CP register of western Sweden. We compared childhood data with a follow-up assessment in 2016.
At follow-up, walking ability had changed significantly (p<0.001). The proportion of participants walking without aids had decreased from 71% to 62%, and wheelchair ambulation increased from 18% to 25%. Walking ability was related to subtype (p=0.001), but not to age, sex, pain, fatigue, or body mass index. The proportion classified as having intellectual disability had increased from 16% to 22% (p=0.039) and the proportion with epilepsy from 9% to 18% (p=0.015). Of those with childhood epilepsy, 46% were seizure-free without medication.
Walking ability and the presence of intellectual disability and epilepsy had changed significantly since childhood. Life-long access to specialized health care is warranted for re-evaluation of impairments, treatment, and assistance.

© 2021 The Authors. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Mac Keith Press.