The Key To Cerebral Palsy? - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

The Key To Cerebral Palsy?

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ATLANTA ( Ivanhoe Newswire) - Imagine being trapped in your own body knowing what you want, but not being able to do it. Movement disorders affect up to 72 million Americans, but new treatments are helping some of them live.

For Carol Wilkins, just watching little Chelsea get out of the house is amazing.

"At some point during my delivery she was without oxygen and it damaged the brain cells on her left side," Carol told Ivanhoe.

Chelsea has cerebral palsy. Carol tried everything to make her girl's pain go away but nothing worked. She hopes this pump is the solution they've been waiting for.

"It controls some of her stiffness and dis-coordination so that she is now able to use that brain to make her body do what she wants it to do," Dr. Maurice G. Sholas, Medical Director of Rehab Services Children's Healthcare of Atlanta told Ivanhoe.

Doctor Maurice Sholas said the implantable device allows the muscle relaxer, baclofen, usually taken in pill form, to be delivered directly into the spinal cord. He said with the pump, the medicine bypasses the gut and circulation system, helping patients avoid side effects that can occur when baclofen is taken orally. Along with CP patients, the device was even more recently FDA approved for use in people with spasticity, a movement disorder caused by things like stroke, brain injury and multiple sclerosis.

"You take somebody from having to take three or four different pills three times a day to not having to take any of that and the pump just handles it on its own," Sholas added.

And rabbits are helping advance CP treatments at the National Institutes of Health. Scientists have discovered five days after the anti-inflammatory drug NAC was injected directly into the brains of newborn bunnies with CP, the animals were able to walk and even hope.

As for Chelsea, she can't say it, but her mom knows the pump is proving to be an effective pain reliever. "It's been a plus for her, it really has," Wilkins said.

The downside of the Baclofen pump is that it requires surgery. The pump lasts up to 10 years.

The downside of the baclofen pump is it has to be implanted so it requires patients to have surgery. The pump can last for almost a decade.

Meanwhile, in addition to cerebral palsy, researchers are also exploring the benefits of NAC for people with autism and Alzheimer's disease.

RESEARCH SUMMARY

MOVEMENT DISORDERS: Movement disorders are a group of neurological conditions that cause a person to have abnormal voluntary or involuntary movements, or slow, reduced movements. There are many different movement disorders which include Parkinson's disease, dystonia, ataxia, Huntington's disease, Tourette syndrome, and Wilson's disease. (Source: www.mayoclinic.com). Some movement disorders can make it difficult or impossible to walk normally and a common symptom is Dyskinesia which results in broken or jerky movements, including tremors. Causes of movement disorders include nerve diseases (i.e. Parkinson's disease), injuries, infections, autoimmune diseases, and certain medicines, although many are inherited. Treatment varies for the different disorders. (Source: www.nlm.nih.gov)

CEREBRAL PALSY: Cerebral palsy is a disorder of movement, muscle tone, or posture which causes impaired movement such as involuntary movements, rigidity of the limbs and trunk, unsteadiness of walking, or a combination of these symptoms. Cerebral palsy may contribute to other neurological problems such as seizures, intellectual disabilities, abnormal touch or pain perceptions, urinary incontinence, and difficulty with vision and hearing. The cause of cerebral palsy is an abnormality or disruption in brain development before or during a child's birth, or sometimes in the first few years of life. Many times the exact cause of the abnormality is unknown but some factors that may lead to problems with brain development include lack of oxygen, maternal infections, infant infections, fetal stroke, random mutations, and traumatic brain injury. There is no cure for cerebral palsy but treatments and medications that may help exist. (Source: www.mayoclinic.com)

ITB THERAPY (BACLOFEN PUMP): Medtronic ITB Therapy, also called the baclofen pump, is an adjustable, reversible treatment for severe spasticity. A surgically placed pump and catheter deliver liquid baclofen directly to the fluid around the spinal cord, where it's needed most. Because Lioresal Intrathecal is delivered directly to where it's needed most in the spinal fluid, it relieves spasticity with smaller amounts of medication than when baclofen is taken orally. This method of delivery may help minimize side effects that can result from oral baclofen. People who suffer from severe spasticity resulting from cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, stroke, brain injury, or spinal cord injury may be a candidate for ITB Therapy. (SOURCE: www.medtronic.com)

NAC: Researchers at the National Institute of health replicated in rabbits the brain inflammation often seen in people with cerebral palsy. They then used tiny molecules known as dendrimers to deliver an anti-inflammatory drug called N-acetyl-L-cysteine, or NAC, directly to the affected part of the brain.The rabbits that received this treatment showed marked progress as compared to those who received saline or NAC alone without the targeted drug delivery, though benefits were seen in both groups that received medication. The cause of the dendrimers' attraction to immune cells is unknown. (Source: journal Science Translational Medicine)

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Heather Kirksey
Public Relations Coordinator
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
heather.kirksey@choa.org

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