About one in 20 women have a significantly growth-restricted baby
MELBOURNE doctors may have found a way to prevent unborn babies from developing cerebral palsy, in a breakthrough that could protect the brains of hundreds of Australian children born with the condition each year.
In a world-first trial at Monash Medical Centre, pregnant women whose babies are not developing normally will be given an antioxidant that doctors believe will stop their babies from suffering brain damage in the womb.
About one in 20 women have a significantly growth-restricted baby, in which the placenta does not provide sufficient oxygen and nutrients for the developing brain.
The condition is a major cause of cerebral palsy, but there is currently nothing doctors can do to prevent it in the seven out of 10 cases where the brain injury occurs before birth.
Over the past five years, scientists at Monash have established that the brain injury is caused by oxidative stress, in which excess chemicals called free radicals damage normal tissues.
They have been able to prevent brain injuries to foetal lambs by giving their mothers the antioxidant melatonin, which corrected the oxidative stress.
Now the treatment is set to be offered to pregnant women, in what Southern Health director of obstetrics Euan Wallace said could be a major breakthrough to protect babies at risk of brain injury.
via Nambucca Guardian News – KATE HAGAN