Cerebral palsy is a devastating condition that affects around 1 in every 1,000 babies born in the United States each year. And, approximately 800,000 to 1 million people, mostly children, are currently living with CP on a day-to-day basis.
Despite advances in medicine and prenatal care, the occurrence rate of cerebral palsy has remained constant over roughly the past 50 years. It still ranks as the most common cause of childhood disability.
And, although as many as 10% of cerebral palsy cases are caused by known medical mistakes or negligence during delivery, in most situations parents are left without an explanation for their child’s disability.
For years, doctors have known that babies born prematurely are at a greater risk for birth injuries and neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy. Now, a new study shows women receiving magnesium sulfate therapy during premature-risk pregnancies could have lower risks of both infant death and cerebral palsy.
Study Shows Decreased Cerebral Palsy with Magnesium Sulfate
Researchers from Australia and New Zealand conducted the study, which was funded by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council and recently published in the Public Library of Science Medicine Journal.
They collected data from five previous studies conducted through 2017 to focus on women who were at risk of pre-term birth. This included 5,493 women in total, as well as 6,131 babies.
They then sorted the results based on whether the pregnant mothers had been given magnesium sulfate, to test for different outcomes depending on the type of treatment and the characteristics of the patient.
The focus was on the neurological outcome of the babies as well as any side effects for the mothers.
What the researchers discovered was a 14% lower occurrence of infant death or cerebral palsy in babies whose mothers had been given prenatal magnesium sulfate for fetal neurological protection, or 1 in every 41 babies saved.
And, in those children who did develop cerebral palsy, results showed that babies whose mothers had received magnesium sulfate had less severe cases of the condition. Best of all, there was no indication of any maternal side effects.
The researchers noted that it didn’t matter significantly how much magnesium sulfate the mothers had received, when during the pregnancy they received it, or whether they had received follow up treatments.
What is Magnesium Sulfate?
Magnesium Sulfate is the pharmaceutical formulation of the salt mineral by the same name. It is also commonly known as Epsom Salt. In healthcare settings, magnesium sulfate is given through intravenous (IV) injection.
Magnesium sulfate is most often prescribed to protect against the effects of preeclampsia during pregnancy, to prevent seizures in pregnant women, or to delay the chances of premature birth.
Although it can be very beneficial, magnesium sulfate may also pose health risks to the mother and baby if overdosed. Overly high levels of the substance can cause a condition called magnesium toxicity.
The most common risks of magnesium toxicity in mothers include low blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, breathing problems, irregular heartbeat, coma, heart attack or kidney damage.
In babies, an overdose of magnesium sulfate can cause poor muscle or bone development, or even death. Therefore, it is very important that doctors correctly monitor the amounts of magnesium sulfate given and prepare to take evasive steps if any complications arise.
Help for Families Dealing with Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is a condition caused by injury to the parts of the brain that control movement and coordination. Approximately 10% of cerebral palsy cases can be traced back to a mistake made before or during delivery, or specific trauma to the child as a newborn.
The Centers for Disease Control have estimated the additional lifetime cost of caring for a child with cerebral palsy at between $1 and $2 million. Therefore, it is important that any family dealing with the condition find out if they are eligible for financial help.
Although doctors and hospital staff try their best to ensure the health of all their patients, they do make mistakes from time to time. For this reason, they have to be covered by insurance so that those injured have the opportunity to recover compensation for their damages.
If you or your child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, an experienced lawyer can review your birth records to determine if it was caused by a medical mistake and whether you may be entitled to help for your child.
The investigation process and filing of a case don’t cost you anything unless you receive compensation. Contact DrugNews today for more information or to talk directly to a cerebral palsy attorney.
Crowther, C. et al. Assessing the neuroprotective benefits for babies of antenatal magnesium sulphate: An individual participant data meta-analysis. PLOS Medicine. (October, 2017). Retrieved from www.plos.org
Medical News Bulletin. Can Magnesium Sulfate During Pregnancy Reduce Cerebral Palsy in Babies? (April 12, 2018). Retrieved from www.medicalnewsbulletin.com
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