Birth injuries that cause cerebral palsy stem from an interruption in the flow of blood or oxygen to the brain, causing damage to the tissue. Scientists have recently managed to stave off this same type of damage in mice during experiments.
The information regarding the study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and may hold hope that, in the future, not as many children will suffer the devastating injuries that cause CP.
The research centers on the protective actions of a protein called Nmnat1. This protein acts to prevent injuries such as those that cause cerebral palsy in the event of blood flow being disrupted to the brain or in the event that the brain is starved of oxygen. With further research and development, scientists may be able to develop therapies that could prevent brain damage in infants who are starved of oxygen or blood during the birthing process. The damage that’s caused by a cerebral palsy injury, like all brain injuries, is permanent. By using this protein, or drugs developed from it, to minimize the extent of those injuries, physicians may be able to someday prevent CP damage altogether.
Cerebral palsy is oftentimes caused by injuries that occur during the birthing process, though there are other ways that people can end up with this condition. Infections and accidents after a child is born can also cause this condition to develop. In such cases, the same therapies that may be developed due to the research of scientists working with Nmnat1 may also be of use. Preventing a brain injury can prevent conditions that can incapacitate a person completely, such as severe cases of CP where the sufferer is almost or completely dependent upon the assistance of others to get by in life.