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Cutting Edge Invention Addresses Causes of Cerebral Palsy

boy with cerebral palsy in wheelchairCerebral palsy is one of most common birth defects affecting newborns in the United States today. In some cases, the condition is congenital and cannot be avoided. In others, the cause of cerebral palsy is linked to some form of environmental factor that could be potentially eluded, thereby eliminating the condition for a large sector of children.

Dr. Kenn Carr of the Maine-based Meridian Medical Systems and Applied Thermologic group is looking to do just that, and is currently in the development stages of an invention designed to measure the temperature of a baby’s head during and immediately following delivery. Along with his colleagues, Dr. Carr has created a non-invasive device that, when properly placed on the baby’s head, can measure the emissions from the brain without actually emitting a signal or exposing the delicate neurological system to unnecessary radiation.

The device has not yet been approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration – a process that can take years. However Dr. Carr and his team are hopeful it will help reverse some of the staggering statistics with regard to the correlation between a difficult delivery and the subsequent development of the cerebral palsy condition.

Cerebral palsy often linked to negligence in hospitals

The condition known as a cerebral palsy is caused by a brain injury or malformation that occurs while the brain is still in its developmental stages – which includes before, during, and even after childbirth.

There are four types of cerebral palsy, each caused by a different malady impacting the brain (e.g., hemorrhage, abnormal development, impact, and lack of oxygen). The condition can be life-threatening; however, many children grow to adulthood and are able to lead successful lives with moderate to minimal assistance.

Cerebral palsy can occur one of three ways: due to a genetic marker, congenitally (occurring in gestation), or acquired. Of the three, Dr. Carr’s thermologic instrument may be most influential in detecting and preventing the acquired variety of cerebral palsy, as it could play an integral role in the birthing process where, tragically, most acquired cerebral palsy cases take place.

When cerebral palsy is caused by malpractice

Negligence by labor and delivery nurses, as well as obstetricians, is often closely linked to the subsequent development of cerebral palsy in newborns and young babies. More specifically, the type of cerebral palsy which occurs due to a lack of oxygen in the brain (Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy, or HIE) often happens when a baby is not closely monitored during the labor process, gets stuck in the birth canal, or the obstetric team waits too long to order an emergency C-section.

These negligent acts can cause victims lifelong trauma and difficulty, and can be avoided with a closer attention to detail and a more astute awareness of the mother’s progression. Parents of children who have suffered brain damage because of the negligence of healthcare practitioners may be eligible to seek compensation by filing a cerebral palsy lawsuit.

According to Dr. Carr and is his team of researchers, lowering a the body temperature of a baby who has already experienced oxygen deprivation during delivery can help reduce the chances of the development of cerebral palsy. More specifically, keeping the brain temperature cooler than average can dramatically reduce the impact of the oxygen deprivation, thereby helping mothers and babies avoid the realities of severe and irreversible brain damage.

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