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Stem Cell Therapy May Help Infant Brain Damage After Stroke

Stem Cell Therapy May Help Infant Brain Damage After Stroke

Many parents may not be aware that infants, just like older adults, can also suffer a stroke. When this happens, it is called a perinatal stroke. Perinatal strokes occur when there is a disruption in blood flow to a major cerebral artery. It has been estimated that 1 in 5,000 newborns may experience this kind of stroke, though the occurrence may be higher given undiagnosed strokes. Perinatal strokes usually happens in the first few days after birth, and may lead to conditions like cerebral palsy, depending on which area(s) of the brain were affected.

For babies that experience this kind of stroke, there is currently no therapy. However, researchers from University Medical Center Utrecht are working on a new stem cell treatment that may help newborns that have had a stroke. Why stem cells? Stem cells have the unique ability to transform into different types of cells in the body. They also stimulate tissue growth. The researchers believe that stem cells may be able to repair damaged brain cells in a baby’s brain.

The scientists first tested this theory on mice, delivering stem cells through their noses. The cells travelled quickly to the injured areas of the mice’s brains, and gave off growth factors that aided cell repair. Within a few days, the stem cells had broken down and disappeared.

Next, the scientists performed this stem cell nasal drip method in babies. Ten newborns participated in the study, where the babies received stem cell droplets through their noses within 7 days of presenting signs of a type of stroke called Perinatal Arterial Ischemic Stroke (PAIS). After three months, MRI scans showed less injury than expected. At four months, the babies’ quality of movement was tested; and the babies tested well. The babies will be assessed again at two years of age. Researchers hope that this type of therapy will give encouragement to an extremely vulnerable patient group, with potential benefits that may last a lifetime.

Discuss Your Perinatal Stroke Concerns With Our Birth Injury Attorneys

Perinatal strokes may be caused by medical negligence during labor and delivery. Excessive use of force may cause trauma to the infant in vaginal or instrumental deliveries, or due to cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD). Labor induction drug Pitocin may cause excessive uterine activity and/or prolong labor.  If your child experienced a perinatal stroke, such as a PAIS, and has suffered as a result, discuss your unique situation with a birth injury attorney from our firm. We can answer your legal questions, and help you understand whether you have any legal options.

Call us at (877) 262-9767 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We represent families nationwide and have offices in Chicago IL, Baltimore MD, New York NY, and Wilmington DE.