World Brain Day is an annual event aimed at raising awareness and increasing knowledge of brain health. Organised by the World Federation of Neurology, every year World Brain Day is dedicated to a specific theme, which for 2022 is ‘brain health for all’.
We know that cerebral palsy is caused by injury to the baby’s developing brain during pregnancy or shortly after birth, meaning this topic is close to home for CPA as an organisation.
Damage or injury to the brain is technically known as encephalopathy – one type of neonatal encephalopathy is hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, which occurs when a baby doesn’t get enough oxygen or blood supply during pregnancy or birth.
Researchers are constantly discovering more about cerebral palsy. In the last decade, research has established that newborn babies who have suffered a hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy may be treated with ‘therapeutic hypothermia’ – which involves lowering the baby’s body temperature to 33.5 degrees celsius.
Slightly lowering the newborn’s body temperature slows down the various processes taking place within the cells of the body and reduces inflammation in the brain, helping to reduce the impact of brain injury.
Three in 1,000 live births are believed to be affected by neonatal encephalopathy, but how do we diagnose and treat it? And how are we contributing to scientific knowledge which may in the future help to treat babies with this kind of brain injury?
CPA research partner PREMSTEM, a regenerative medicine research project aimed at developing a new therapy to treat brain damage associated with preterm birth, has produced a great infographic and fact sheet to celebrate World Brain Day.