Australia learns of possible treatment for cerebral palsy

by Anna
(The Special Life)

August 2006 celebrated National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Week in Australia, and opportunities abounded to educate ourselves about cerebral palsy.

One fact that caught my attention is that a child is born with cerebral palsy every 18 hours in Australia. Wow.

I'm not sure where that puts Australia in relation to other countries, but the ability to present this kind of data in such an easy to understand way deserves credit.

Credit also goes to Professor Stephen Back, from the Oregon Health and Sciences University, who will be presenting his research into spastic diplegia to audiences in Sydney today, and in Melbourne on Thursday.

It looks like Professor Back may be onto something important.

He and his team have been researching the causes of spastic diplegia and the factors that prevent the natural repair of damaged area in the brain. The research indicates that a chemical called hyaluronic acid (HA), accumulates in the damaged area of the brain, and when that happens. the nervous system fails to repair damaged myelin. What is myelin you ask? It's the insulation around nerves that allow the nervous system to transmit information effectively. So... the nervous system probably fails to repair itself after injury because of insufficient myelin.

Researchers also found that by reducing HA levels, the immature cells would develop into cells that can make myelin.

Now here's the important part...

He's quoted as saying ""... the next step is trying various ways of getting rid of the HA that's accumulated in the areas of injury in the hope of reversing the injury."

That is something to get excited about.

For more information on this research and the findings to be presented this week in Australia, click on the link at the end of this article.

Hope springs eternal.

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