Cerebral palsy, often abbreviated as CP in medical literature, is a term that encompasses a group of different motor conditions, which are non-progressive and are not contagious. It affects various area of the body and may limit a person’s ability to function normally, especially when it comes to movement.
The specific causes of this condition are still under study, but the general cause is damage to brain areas responsible for motor functions. This damage usually occurs during pregnancy, however in certain cases it may be caused during birth, or in early childhood up to the age of 36 months.
While it mostly affects motor functions, CP may have other effects in individuals affected by it. They may have difficulties seeing and perceiving things, talking, as well as having intellectual disabilities. Patients suffering from CP are also much more likely to have epilepsy as well. In fact, around one third of patients are reported to suffer from various types of epilepsy as well.
The search for a cure is still in progress and has been going on for several decades so far. However, there have been recent breakthroughs which may help prevent a fetus from developing CP during pregnancy, or to reverse it soon after childbirth.
A new breakthrough treatment for cerebral palsy has been made public by researchers in April of 2012. Many tests have been done on rabbits and these show promising results when it comes to a potential treatment for humans that may be available some time in the future. During the tests, rabbits were made to be deliberately born with CP.
Then, an anti-inflammatory drug was injected into the parts of the brain that show damage by using molecules that are referred to as dandrimeters. The drug being used in testing is called N-Acetyl-L-Cystine (NAC) and is already used in humans as a treatment when someone ingests a potentially fatal dose of acetaminophen. Rabbits that would normally have no mobility due to the brain damage caused by CP were shown to have movement levels that were almost normal by a few days.
For now, the treatment is still a few years away before it can potentially be used on humans. It is also worthy to know that it has one limitation: it can only be used immediately after birth. However, this treatment may be able to help us get a better understanding of how CP affects the brain and this could result in a treatment being developed for adults and infants over a few days old.
Nora Charles is a freelance writer that has worked with many bloggers for several years now.