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Improved prenatal care can prevent cerebral palsy

A recent study has shown that the cerebral palsy rates have dropped and it appears improved prenatal care is having an effect.

Cerebral palsy is a common health complication that is generally found in infants who are born prematurely. Additionally, medical malpractice that causes a birth injury is a common cause of cerebral palsy. However, there has been much debate in the medical community about how to best prevent cerebral palsy. Many doctors are still unsure of the appropriate steps that need to be taken to prevent the condition.

The study was conducted by Dutch researchers who looked at the medical cases of nearly 3,000 infants. The infants were born prematurely during a 15-year period that began in 1990. The study found a 6.5 percent decrease in cerebral palsy cases from 2002 to 2005 and the cases that were reported appeared to be less serious than in previous years.

Researchers said that a significant decline in white matter lesions brain injuries led to a decrease in the number of cases and the severity of those cases. However, it is not clear why white matter lesions have been on the decline.

Linda de Vries, one of the study's authors, believes that the decline is due to the fact that overall care during pregnancy has improved in recent years. According to De Vries, researchers were unable to find a single factor that led to the decrease. While techniques such as Cesarean delivery and the prescribing of various medications have been used in an attempt to lower the rates of cerebral palsy, De Vries says that making general improvements to prenatal care is the most likely path to future decreases in cerebral palsy rates.

Los Angeles Times, "Cerebral palsy cases have dropped," Shari Roan, 3/3/2011

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