Intellectual disability and cerebral palsy in a UK community

Community Genet. 2002;5(3):201-4. doi: 10.1159/000066337.


Objective: The northern English city of Bradford has a population of 370,000. In recent years the Pakistani community has gradually expanded in number, and in 2001 contributed 41.4% of births in the city. There is a very high level of consanguineous marriage in this community, and the main aim of this study was to assess the influence of community endogamy and consanguinity on major disabling childhood diseases.

Subjects and methods: More than 300 children are referred to the Child Development Centre each year. Data on neurodegenerative disorders, microcephaly and cerebral palsy were collated and analysed by community of origin and mode of inheritance.

Results and conclusions: There was a striking variation in the prevalence of many disabling conditions, but in all cases the Pakistani community was over-represented, suggesting a high prevalence of inherited disease. The large numbers of affected children present a challenge, and adequate resources are needed to improve the delivery of counselling, treatment and care to the community. As child health in Pakistan improves, our experience with the UK Pakistani community suggests that the genetic causes of disability and disease in childhood will assume greater importance.