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Cerebral Palsy May Be Prevented with Antioxidants

The Chicago cerebral palsy lawyers at our firm have worked with many local families whose children have developed cerebral palsy due to the negligence of their medical professional during birth. As we have often explained, cerebral palsy is a “catch all” term that is used to describe a variety of conditions that affect a child’s physical movement abilities. Because the term refers to a range of conditions, there are different ways that cerebral palsy can develop. Preventable birth injuries during delivery is one way, while developmental abnormalities throughout the growth process in the womb is another.

Right now the developmental problems which cause cerebral palsy are essentially not preventable. Doctors are often able to identify risk factors to determine what children may not be developing properly, but they possesses few intervention tools that would help them actually stop or reverse the problem.

However, a new article from Canberra Times discusses a new human trial that is about to get underway which may yield results to help prevent developmental problems in the womb which often lead to cerebral palsy. The trial is set to study to effect of antioxidants given to women’s who exhibit certain signs which often lead to the improper fetal growth. The trial will take place at Monash Medical Center. It will involve giving certain at-risk pregnant woman an antioxidant melatonin to corrective oxidative stress. Researchers explain that about five percent of all women have placentas which do not provide sufficient oxygen and nutrients for a developing child. In particular, the developing child’s brain is often starved of the resources it needs to grow properly. The oxidative stress caused by the lack of nutrients creates excess chemicals known as “free radicals” that then destroy normal tissue. Conditions like cerebral palsy often result.

In animal trials (on lamb fetuses), doctor saw success with this treatment plan. Those fetuses which showed signs of oxidative stress essentially had the problem fixed when the mothers were given antioxidant melatonin. Doctors are hoping that the same results are mirrored in humans.

Each Illinois birth injury attorney at our firm appreciates the life-long consequences of these injuries and developmental problems that affect new children. The ability to prevent or repair this kind of damage is a tremendous way to save lives (and costs) for thousands of local families.

Through our work we understand that while doctors can prevent much harm by exercising reasonable care during the birth itself, other damage is not preventable when it arises well before the child is actually ready to be born. Treatment options which tackle those early development problems are few and far between. This latest research is encouraging because it provides early intervention. As one obstetrician explained, “Pregnancy is a black box-we are watching, but until now there has been nothing we can do to intervene.” It will be crucial to keep abreast of the results of this latest trial to determine if it produces results which may prove useful for local families facing similar oxidative stress issues.

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