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Research gives hope to stem cell treatment for cerebral palsy


Posted on behalf of Michael D'Amico of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Jul 31, 2014 in Brain Injuries

Welcoming a newborn baby into the family is a very exciting prospect. Unfortunately, some parents' excitement quickly turns to fear when birth complications arise. From time to time, medical errors can lead to birth injuries.

One of the most common birth injuries is asphyxia, which cuts off the blood and oxygen supply to the infant's brain. This type of injury at such a critical, fragile age can result in cerebral palsy, a condition that affects people for a life time.

Researchers are looking into a possible treatment for birth asphyxia that involves the infant's own blood.

After numerous clinical studies, medical researchers isolated three types of stem cells found in infants' umbilical cord blood that could be helpful in mitigating the effects of cerebral palsy. Preliminary inquiries involving non-human subjects have shown promise in preventing brain damage if cord blood is delivered within the initial hours of life.

These encouraging signs will help provide guidance in forthcoming research that will involve children who are born with cerebral palsy risk. Even though this particular research is being conducted in Australia, it could benefit children in Connecticut and throughout the rest of the world.

Already, trials in South Korea have shown promise in improving the cognitive and motor skills of children who have cerebral palsy.

This type of research provides hope, and understandably so. However, it's not a sure-fire therapy. Even if it does prove to be successful, it could be years before it's widely available in the United States.

The ongoing research shows just how serious asphyxia-related birth injuries can be. Even with all of the medical technology available today, there are many families dealing with the effects of an injury caused by negligence at birth.

Source: Herald Sun, "Could babies fight cerebral palsy with their own blood?" Brigid O'Connell, June 5, 2014