Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Often the cause of cerebral palsy is not known, and nothing can be done to prevent it. However, some important causes of cerebral palsy can be prevented in many cases, including premature birth, low birth weight, infections, and head injuries.
Seek appropriate prenatal care as early as possible in the pregnancy. Many women schedule a prepregnancy visit so they can be properly prepared for a healthy pregnancy. Appropriate care is available from physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and certified nurse-midwives.
Avoid using cigarettes, alcohol, and illicit drugs during pregnancy; these increase the risk of premature delivery.
Rubella (measles) during pregnancy or early in life is a cause of cerebral palsy. Testing for rubella immunity before a woman becomes pregnant allows her to be immunized, which protects both the woman and the baby from contracting this potentially devastating illness.
Appropriate prenatal care includes testing for Rh factor. Rh incompatibility is easily treated but can cause brain damage and other problems if untreated.
Routine vaccinations of babies can prevent serious infections such as meningitis that can lead to cerebral palsy.
Make sure that the child is restrained in a properly installed car seat and wears a helmet when riding on a bicycle.