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New treatment offers promise for children with cerebral palsy

Infants are susceptible to a wide variety of complications during the birthing process, particularly if medical professionals don't exercise enough caution. As many North Carolina families have learned, cerebral palsy is a birth injury that is all too often the result of a medical mistake.

Cerebral palsy occurs when a baby's brain is deprived of oxygen during birth. This causes permanent brain damage and makes many basic motor functions very difficult. A medical breakthrough, however, is showing some promise for those living with this condition.

Medical researchers believe that using cells harvested from umbilical-cord blood could help damaged neurons and brain tissue begin to repair. This could potentially allow the brain and muscles to better "work together." Additionally, it could help those living with cerebral palsy better express their thoughts and feelings. At this point, it is uncertain how well this treatment will work, but it could prove to be effective as related techniques are refined.

Recently, an 11-year-old boy went through this treatment and his family is hopeful that it will help him improve his ability to move and enjoy his favorite activities even more. At the very least, the boy's family hopes it will make him feel more comfortable.

Certainly, any medical advancement that can help improve lives is welcome. However, it may not be possible to undo all the effects of a medical error. Families dealing with the effects of a birth injury often have years of large medical bills and other financial pressures, not to mention the emotional toll. As such, a successful medical malpractice claim can help provide much-needed support.

Source: CBS Local, "Metro Detroit Boy Undergoes Groundbreaking FDA Stem Cell Trial For Cerebral Palsy," Kathryn Larson, March 5, 2013

Source: Herald Sun, "Cerebral palsy breakthrough gives new hope," Grant MacArthur, March 17, 2013

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