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Study on cerebral palsy finds another possible cause

Whether we like to think about it or not, sometimes things go wrong in the course of delivering a baby. When they do, parents may be forced to quickly come to terms with a reality they did not expect. A situation where this could happen is when a baby is diagnosed with cerebral palsy after he or she is born.

The symptoms of cerebral palsy vary and include: seizures, impaired motor skill function, behavioral and emotional difficulties, sight and hearing impairments, speech difficulties, cognitive and learning disabilities.

Historically it was believed that this medical condition was caused by a lack of oxygen to the fetus. While this is still believed to be a reason for some cases of cerebral palsy, a recent study indicates that genetics may also play a role. More specifically, the study, which was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, indicates that genetic mutations play a role for some.

In reaching this conclusion the study analyzed the DNA of 183 individuals who had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Whole-exome sequencing was used to seek genetic anomalies that are connected to cerebral palsy. The parents of many of the participants were also tested. The results indicated that a minimum of 14 percent of cerebral palsy cases could be the result of mutations in genes.

While interesting, these findings do not take medical providers off the hook for providing a high level of care during the delivery of a baby. This is because though the study indicates some cases of cerebral palsy could be the result of genetics, it does not disprove that a lack of oxygen during delivery can also result in the condition.

Accordingly, parents of children diagnosed with cerebral palsy should not hesitate in pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit if they believe it is warranted.

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