A promising breakthrough recently in the field of cerebral palsy research offers a glimmer of hope that medical advancements may eventually make it possible to reverse the course of cerebral palsy in newborns who suffer brain damage as a result of infection or birth injury.
In a study at Detroit’s National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, researchers tested a new drug by administering it to baby rabbits born with a cerebral-palsy-like condition. The rabbits that received the drug, an anti-inflammatory designed to target specific brain cells, showed dramatic improvements in mobility compared to untreated rabbits born with the same condition. Movement and balance problems are two of the main symptoms of cerebral palsy in humans.
While reports on the study are quick to point out that many years of additional research may be necessary to determine whether similar treatments can be used to help human cerebral palsy patients, the findings are significant because they demonstrate that it may be possible to reverse the effects of brain damage at birth.
Researchers in the NICHD study chose to test the drug on rabbits because, like humans, rabbits’ motor function is only partially developed at birth, the New York Daily News reported. Within five days, rabbits treated during the first six hours after birth were functioning at near-normal levels, according to an article published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Cerebral palsy, which affects about 750,000 people across the U.S., is a disorder caused by brain damage that often results from birth injuries or infections in the womb. There is currently no cure for cerebral palsy, which can cause lifelong complications including lack of motor control, inability to walk, speech problems and developmental delays.
If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy that you think may have been caused by medical negligence during delivery, contact an experienced birth injury lawyer to discuss your legal options.