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Cord blood being used to combat cerebral palsy

As a parent, learning your child suffers from a permanent and debilitating disability is heartbreaking. A new study, however, provides hope for parents of children diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Medical researchers are exploring the possibility of using cord blood to combat and potentially reverse some of the debilitating effects of the disorder. For the parents of one young boy who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was just 10 months old, news that his banked cord blood may help their son enjoy a more normal life is thrilling.

The boy's parents have enrolled their son in a clinical trial where he will be given blood transfusions using the cord blood. Doctors believe cells found within cord blood may help promote the growth of new normal brain cells as well as the regeneration of existing damaged brain cells.

Cerebral palsy is a disorder effecting an individual's brain and nervous system. The disorder is typically triggered by damage sustained to the brain before a child is born or during the first two years of life. The severity of the disorder can vary greatly. Some symptoms those suffering from cerebral palsy may exhibit include tight and weak muscles, tremors, speech problems, seizures and hearing or vision problems.

Individuals with cerebral palsy may have difficulty walking and moving freely. They may also suffer from learning disabilities as a result of brain injury.

Results for patients included in the initial trial are encouraging with many reporting improvements in movement and speech. Patients for the next round of the trial study are currently being selected.

Source: KABC-TV Los Angeles, "Umbilical cord blood treatment could stop cerebral palsy: study," Denise Dador, July 5, 2012

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