Cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition caused by a brain injury. When a baby’s brain is injured, whether in the womb, during the birth process, or in the first three years of life, the child can develop cerebral palsy. A new drug has been developed that has shown potential to improve the condition of cerebral palsy sufferers. There is no known cure for cerebral palsy at this time and the treatment options are limited. Typically, treatment has focused on relieving the symptoms of CP, rather than on repairing the damaged brain cells.
Cerebral palsy can be caused by physical trauma, infection, asphyxia, hypoxia of the brain and other conditions that cause either damage directly to the brain or a lack of oxygen to the brain. The condition is much more common among premature infants. Cerebral palsy has been associated with medical malpractice as birth trauma and undiagnosed problems during the birth process can lead to CP.
The medication is currently being tested on rabbits and has shown the ability to greatly improve motor function. The drug limits the swelling of the brain that can kill brain cells and eventually lead to CP. It is not clear if the drug will have any impact on the slowed development that may also be caused by cerebral palsy.
The drug has not been tested on humans and must be analyzed for potential side effects. While it may be some time before it is a viable treatment for humans, it is an encouraging step in dealing with a condition that strikes roughly 10,000 children every year.