Cerebral palsy is a condition that refers to the brain. The term palsy means weakness or lack of muscle control. Cerebral palsy is not a single problem, but a complex disorder which affects all of the brain cell types. Approximately 90 percent of all cases of cerebral palsy are caused by brain injury during the prenatal period, or before labor begins. This condition is caused by damage to brain cells that control the movement of muscles, and the individual can be either mildly, moderately, or severely affected.
However, approximately 10 percent of cases of cerebral palsy are caused by factors after birth, such as prematurity, lead poisoning, viral infections, and head injuries.
Individuals who have cerebral palsy are affected lifelong, and children who have the condition may develop eating difficulties, bladder and bowel control problems, breathing problems, as well as learning disabilities. Affected individuals have limited use of their arms due to the dysfunction of their neural motor control and stiffness of their joints. Dysarthria is common in people with cerebral palsy, due to problems involving the muscles that control speech and mastication. Even though cerebral palsy is a permanent condition, as a person learns and grows and
practices skills, more control over movement may be achieved. Some individuals who have the condition may have other disabilities as well.
There are varying degrees of therapies depending on the degree of the condition. However, there is something very hopeful to be aware of when it comes to helping individuals who have cerebral palsy as well as other brain injuries and diseases.
A U.S. based company called Helius Medical Technologies has created a portable neurostimulation device (PoNS) which had shown promise to improve outcomes for people with brain injuries and diseases.
Clinical trial data has indicated that the use of the PoNS device at high frequency with physical therapy for five weeks resulted in approximately three times the standard improvement seen over a 9 month period than physical therapy alone.
Good to know that Helius plans to move forward with applying for FDA clearance for the PoNS device, despite a report in November by an analyst erroneously putting into question the ultimate sales of the PoNS device if it passes FDA clearance, among other points.
One mom of a child with cerebral palsy was so angered by this analyst report that she wrote about it on Medium.
Though unlikely, for those suffering brain injuries and other brain health issues, let us hope one report doesn’t impact the public benefitting from a treatment that demonstrates such potential