Drug may prove helpful for treating cerebral palsy after birth

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Scientists may have discovered a drug that can effectively treat infants for cerebral palsy after birth. The exciting news stems from lab tests on rabbits suffering from a condition similar to cerebral palsy. A group of newborn rabbits responded positively to the drug, showing a level of motor ability that was close to normal.

Dr. Sujatha Kannan, the study’s lead researcher, said, “There appears to be a window of opportunity for treatment, even after birth.”

This is promising news, as cerebral palsy affects 1 in 300 children born in the U.S. The devastating effects of cerebral palsy often result from the brain’s inflammatory response to an infection while the child is in the womb. The longer the brain inflammation continues the more damage that typically results to the brain.

The new drug targets the brain’s inflammatory reaction and reduces it, working to lessen the movement-related disabilities in the patient. Researchers are unsure whether the drug could also reduce the developmental problems that children with cerebral palsy suffer.

This is promising news, but the studies are still in preliminary stages. Further, this is a potential post-birth treatment for infants with cerebral palsy – not a cure – and still would require doctors to properly diagnose a newborn’s condition at birth.

Source: foxnews.com, “Cerebral palsy drug may offer hope for treatment,” Rachael Rettner, April 19, 2012

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