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Study correlates development of cerebral palsy to gene controlling brain inflammation

Cerebral palsy is a common birth injury that can leave a child with lifelong impairments, particularly limitations in movement and motor skills. The condition is caused by brain damage, though the underlying causes can vary and are not fully understood in every case.

Genetic and environmental factors that result in disturbed brain development are one potential cause of cerebral palsy. During birth, ruptured blood vessels or oxygen deprivation can be a cause of the condition, as can trauma, infections and asphyxia after birth. Cerebral palsy can also develop as a result of premature labor, which can result in inflammation, often caused by infection. This can lead to cerebral palsy and other conditions.

Some pre-born children are more at risk than others, of course, and one of the goals in researching the causes of cerebral palsy is to determine whether there are interventions which could minimize risk factors. One recent study, published in a journal called Nature Communications, specifically tied the development of cerebral palsy in premature infants to a gene controlling the immune response to brain inflammation. It is hoped that the finding will open up further avenues of research into how to prevent or better treat the inflammation that can result in the development of cerebral palsy.

This kind of research, particularly given that it doesn't present any conclusive findings, will not change how physicians in obstetrics and gynecology go about their work, at least not at this point. Medical doctors are expected to stay abreast of ongoing research pertaining to their area of practice, but it can take some time for the findings of medical research to become established as standards of practice, which themselves can be recognized as standards of care in medical malpractice litigation.

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