Those who suffer from cerebral palsy may benefit from a new treatment. A recent study shows a new drug may reduce symptoms of the condition, particularly if treated early on.
Cerebral palsy is a condition that often results from injury at birth or shortly after delivery. The disorder is caused by brain damage and results in problems with movement, balance or posture. Currently, there is no cure for the disorder and it is a lifelong condition. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that roughly 1 out of 300 U.S. children suffer from the condition.
According to a study in the journal Science and Translational Medicine, when animals with a cerebral palsy-like condition were given the drug shortly after birth they demonstrated significant improvements. Within five days, their ability to take steps and control other movements substantially improved. Researchers suspect that the sooner the treatment is administered the more effective it will be.
It is possible the drug may also improve other cerebral palsy symptoms like developmental delays. Although the drug targets white matter brain cells, and developmental delays result from damage to gray matter, researchers saw some improvements in both types of cells in animals treated with the drug. Additional testing is needed to analyze improvements in cognitive development.
More research is also needed to determine potential side effects of the drug, and to see if the improvements seen will last. Human trials have also not yet been conducted.
Source: Fox News, Cerebral palsy drug may offer hope for treatment, Rachael Rettner, April 19, 2012.