Cerebral palsy or “CP” is the most common motor-related and childhood disability in the United States, with more than 700,000 people affected nationwide. Although those with CP can often recover certain abilities with time, therapy, and medical treatment, others may struggle with chronic pain, intellectual impairment, and sleep disorders for large portions of their lives.
However, thanks to recent scientific advances in treating and understanding this unique disorder, children who develop CP may be able to experience improved motor mobility and even rely on motorized muscles. At our excellent injury firm in Birmingham, we’re committed to securing the compensation that those with cerebral palsy need after a birth injury – and we’re hopeful that new technology and medical tools will give our clients more freedom and independence than ever before.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss two of the most groundbreaking advances in cerebral palsy, and what they could mean for individuals who have been affected by a birth injury.
MEDICAL ADVANCE #1: MOTORIZED MUSCLES FOR CP PATIENTS
Because cerebral palsy primarily affects the central nervous system and physical movement, it can be very hard for individuals with CP to walk or to develop fine motor skills. Although artificial limbs and braces have come a long way in recent years, few devices have been created with CP and muscular disorders in mind, and even fewer have actually been shown to work.
One dedicated team of researchers at the University of Delaware’s College of Health Sciences is trying to change that, however. Receiving more than $200,000 in initial start-up funding, they’re aiming to develop a motorized ankle device that includes an actual artificial muscle. Using “smart materials” such as dielectric elastomer actuators, the life-like soft muscle tissues contract upon receiving electrical signals, closely mimicking the natural movement of a muscle. Aiming to eventually release this for the general market, this study could represent a major breakthrough not just for CP patients, but for patients with all kinds of muscular disorders.
MEDICAL ADVANCE #2: CORD BLOOD STEM CELLS
Stem cells of all types have received a lot of push-back outside the medical community, but the reality is that cord stem cells have untold healing abilities. As one recent study published in Stem Cells Translational Medicine suggests, using umbilical cord stem cells on children with cerebral palsy could be the key to improving baseline movement and neurological function.
As the study notes, most CP treatment involves therapies that can “optimize function and quality of life,” and few attempts are being made to actually cure and improve the condition itself. However, by using a child’s cord blood stem cells, the researchers were able to facilitate faster cell repair in the brain, and the effects far outweighed those in the placebo control groups. If further developed, this medical treatment could lead to improved motor function and whole brain connectivity in children with CP.
CALL OUR COMPASSIONATE BIRTH INJURY LAWYERS
As experienced birth injury attorneys working nationwide to correct injustices, we’re always excited to hear about medical advancements that can improve our client’s lives, and the lives of their families. While new treatments should eventually become available to the public, however, it’s unlikely that they will be cost-effective, viable options for many years to come. To ensure that your child has access to the greatest medical treatment out there, it’s important to hold the right party accountable for the initial birth injury. At Hare Wynn, we can help you do just that.
Call us today at 800-568-5330 for a free consultation with our Birmingham birth injury attorneys.
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