Specific gene may be a prominent risk factor
In a study presented to the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine on February 6, 2014, a collaborative team of researchers from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver NICHD Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units and Neonatal Research Networks revealed findings that a variant in SERPINE1, a gene which can cause inflammation and blood clotting, is also associated with cerebral palsy and death in preterm infants. Earlier genetic studies have related incidents of preterm birth with brain and developmental issues, but this is the first study to tie those issues to a specific gene which can be identified before birth.
It has been well-understood for decades that early preterm births increase the risks of brain damage. What was not understood was why some very premature babies developed normally, while others were exhibited severe symptoms and disabilities. This study indicates that genes may play a larger role than previously expected in the risks factors of early delivery to mothers and their children.
These findings put a greater expectation on medical professionals to check for risk factors and to weigh them carefully when considering inducing labor early, or reacting to early signs of labor in an expecting mother. With a specific gene to seek out as a “red flag” for risks of cerebral palsy, any parent whose child is born with cerebral palsy will be able to confirm whether their doctor was aware of any risk factors for developmental issues prior to delivery.
Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common motor disability among children, affecting 1 in every 278 children. People suffering from CP can exhibit signs of autism and epileptic seizures, and in many cases cannot walk. One in four children with CP cannot feed or dress themselves.
There is no known cure for CP at this time. Most treatments are solely for symptoms, and do not treat the underlying causes of the condition.
The attorneys at Mallon & McCool, LLC in Baltimore believe it is important to keep parents informed about the causes and issues surrounding cerebral palsy. Their lawyers provide legal representation and support for families affected by CP in order to help ensure they have the resources they need to manage their child’s condition. They encourage anyone considering filing a cerebral palsy claim to contact them at their Baltimore offices.