Cerebral palsy is a disabling condition that affects hundreds of thousands of children in California and the rest of the United States. Oftentimes, cerebral palsy is caused before birth by injury or abnormal development in the immature brain. It generally leads to impairments in movement and can also cause developmental brain abnormalities, hearing and vision problems or seizures.
Children who suffer from cerebral palsy often require extensive therapy and assistance that can be very expensive. Many times, children with cerebral palsy are able to qualify for Supplemental Security Income to help cover these costs. At this point, there is no known treatment for cerebral palsy other than therapy, but a new study has offered hope that a more extensive treatment could come someday soon.
In the study, researchers announced that they had found away to replace the damaged or missing brain cells that cause cerebral palsy with ordinary skin cells. The so-called myelinating cells communicate and send instruction to the body, but they cannot be replaced naturally, which is why cerebral palsy is a chronic condition. However, this new technique called “cellular reprogramming” has been touted as a breakthrough because it could change that.
So far, the innovative technique has only been successful in mice, but researchers say they hope to test it out on human cells next. Not only could this be a wonderful discovery for those who suffer from cerebral palsy, the researchers said the same technique could potentially be used to treat other related disorders like multiple sclerosis. This will be powerful research to follow.
Source: Disability Scoop, “Study Points To Treatment For Cerebral Palsy,” Shaun Heasley, April 16, 2013