Study potentially offers new hope to children with cerebral palsy

A new study into the impact of stem cell therapy on symptoms of cerebral palsy potentially offers new hope to children living with the increasingly common condition.

Research published in the medical journal eNeuro last week reveals that neural stem cells can successfully repair damaged areas of the brain in mice models of cerebral palsy.

In short, this means that this form of treatment can help to restore existing motor impairments in mice that exhibit classic cerebral palsy symptoms, suggesting that stem cell therapy could potentially help humans in the same way.

The research, which was carried out by prominent Canadian neurosurgeon Michael G Fehlings, saw scientists induce a mild cerebral palsy-like brain injury into young female and male mice. The mice were then injected with neural precursor cells, which went straight into the corpus callosum of the brain.

In cerebral palsy, the corpus callosum often suffers from impaired myelination, but the study found that introducing the right precursor cells helped to recover lesions in this area of the brain, as well as others. This ultimately resulted in improved walking and limb use, the researchers found.

According to reports, the study indicates that neural precursor cells can act as a “bio-bridge” when it comes to repairing damaged myelination.

However, the study’s authors have said that much further research is needed in order to better understand how the recovery of lesions occurs and the mechanisms behind this process.

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