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Can Cerebral Palsy and Brain Damage Be Prevented in New Borns?

Inhibiting an enzyme in the brains of newborns suffering from oxygen and blood flow deprivation stops a type of brain damage that is a leading cause of cerebral palsy, mental retardation and death, according to researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

Reporting their results in the Journal of Neuroscience, the scientists show blocking the brain enzyme, tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA), prevents progressive brain damage triggered by the lack of oxygen and blood supply.  This is called hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.

The current study, posted on the journal's website this month, included one-week-old rats in which brain hypoxia-ischemia was induced. The researchers found that hypoxia-ischemia leads to increased tPA activity. The enzyme then damages the brain blood vessels and the blood-brain barrier. The blood-brain barrier is a protective system designed to prevent invasions of blood-borne materials, in particular inflammatory cells or potential contaminants, into the central nervous system.

In human newborns, hypoxic brain injury usually occurs right before, during or shortly after birth and is frequently the result of medical negligence. 

The brain injury attorneysat De Caro & Kaplen, LLP have handled cases of brain damage in new borns caused by lack of oxygen as a result of medical malpractice.

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