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New Study Reverses Mobility Problems in Rabbits After Brain Injury at Birth

Cerebral palsy is perhaps the most well-known type of brain injury that develops at birth. Our Chicago brain injury attorneys have helped many local families whose children have developed cerebral palsy. Not all cases of the condition are preventable. However, at times it develops as a result of inadequate response to fetal emergencies. In those situations a child is often deprived oxygen for a considerable length of time, leading to the incurable and potentially severely debilitating condition.

Researchers have long-been trying to develop strategies to prevent the deprivation and reverse the harm caused by these situations. Many promising treatment are being explored that might one day allow medical professionals to prevent brain damage from expanding and in some cases reverse damage.

For example, the Associated Press reported last week on a newly released study which might one day prevent the development of cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy affects about 750,000 Americans, and more children are born with cerebral palsy each day. Mobility problems are at the center of the condition. However, research published in the Science Translational Medicine journal offers a potential treatment method that might allow those afflicted to return to normal mobility.

The research involved newborn rabbits that had cerebral palsy-like brain damage. Rabbit brains develop similar to humans, with some development occurring in the womb and some occurring after birth. In this case, the rabbits born with the damage were given special drug treatment within six hours of their birth. In general the drug treatment seemed to return the rabbits to near-normal mobility within five days. It was an encouraging result that may one day have significant ramifications for humans born with cerebral palsy.

The experts who conducted the study from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Perinatology Research Branch explain that the key to the success of the treatment is the delivery method. The drug is sent directly to the portion of the brain that is damaged. This delivery occurs over “tree-like” molecules called dendrimers. The technique allows the drug to cross the blood-brain barrier and stop brain inflammation early on.

Experts involved in the effort elaborated and explained that the drug seems to work by improving the “white matter” in the brain where motion centers are found. In this way the research was specifically focused on versions of cerebral palsy caused by inflammation and infection.

Our Chicago cerebral palsy lawyers understand the potential ramifications of this research. If early intervention strategies can be perfected in humans, countless children might be spared the long-term consequences of cerebral palsy with which they otherwise might have been afflicted. Hopefully this line of researchers continues swiftly so that its potential benefits can be translated into help for local patients as soon as feasible.

The next stage is to determine if the benefits of the drug last into adulthood for the rabbits. In addition, dosages will need to be worked out to figure out the best possible combination for human infants. Also, different versions of the study need to be conducted to determine whether the drug might provide any benefit to older children or adults.

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