Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genetic abnormalities may cause cerebral palsy, study suggests

Date:
January 26, 2012
Source:
Geisinger Health System
Summary:
For years it was thought that a difficult birth and other perinatal factors were the leading causes of cerebral palsy (CP), a group of disorders that can involve brain and nervous system functions such as movement, learning, hearing, seeing and thinking. Now, researchers suggest that the majority of cerebral palsy causes may in fact be caused by genetic abnormalities.

For years it was thought that a difficult birth and other perinatal factors were the leading causes of cerebral palsy (CP), a group of disorders that can involve brain and nervous system functions such as movement, learning, hearing, seeing and thinking. Now, researchers at Geisinger Health System find that the majority of cerebral palsy causes may in fact be caused by genetic abnormalities.

Published in the The Lancet Neurology, Geisinger researchers find that CP -- the most common physical disability of childhood -- is probably caused by multiple genetic factors, similar to other neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and intellectual disability. The paper suggests physicians should consider performing genetic testing when children present with CP and CP-like conditions.

"There is a widespread misconception that most cases of CP are caused by difficult delivery leading to birth asphyxia," said Andres Moreno De Luca, M.D., research scientist at the Genomic Medicine Institute, Geisinger Health System, and lead author of the paper. "What we're finding is a growing body of evidence that suggests mutations in multiple genes are responsible for CP. In fact, we suspect these genetic abnormalities may also be the cause of some difficult births to begin with."

Despite substantial improvements in obstetric and neonatal care, the paper finds the worldwide prevalence of cerebral palsy has remained stable at 2 to 3 per 1,000 livebirths for more than 40 years. Inadequate oxygen supply to fetuses, known as birth asphyxia, remains the most studied factor associated with CP, though electronic fetal monitoring and other technologies have been developed to detect fetal distress.

"What we're finding is even though more preventative efforts have been put in place, like fetal monitoring, the incidence of CP has not decreased," said David Ledbetter, Ph.D., chief scientific officer, Geisinger Health System. "We've seen a five-fold increase in the rate of caesarean sections, which are done in part to avoid potentially difficult delivery, and again, the CP rates remain steady. These findings lead us to believe genetics play a much bigger role than previously thought."

The paper also reports that even though most cases of CP are not caused by birth asphyxia and those that are can rarely be prevented by obstetric intervention, between 1999 and 2003 an estimated 76 percent of obstetricians in the U.S. faced medical malpractice litigation, most often for alleged birth mismanagement resulting in CP.

"We now know of six genes that can cause CP when disrupted, and we estimate that many other developmental brain genes probably contribute to the genetic heterogeneity of this disorder," said Dr. Moreno De Luca. "Many capable obstetricians face legal action even though research is telling us genetics is the likely cause of most cases of CP."

As the paradigm shift continues and more researchers, clinicians, and the general population start to consider the cerebral palsies as a group of neurogenetic disorders, the paper states we will probably witness an increase in research efforts, a change in the diagnostic approach, and eventually novel therapies for treating CP.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Geisinger Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Andres Moreno-De-Luca, David H Ledbetter, Christa L Martin. Genomic insights into the causes and classification of the cerebral palsies. The Lancet Neurology, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/S1474-4422(11)70287-3

Cite This Page:

Geisinger Health System. "Genetic abnormalities may cause cerebral palsy, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120126101451.htm>.
Geisinger Health System. (2012, January 26). Genetic abnormalities may cause cerebral palsy, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120126101451.htm
Geisinger Health System. "Genetic abnormalities may cause cerebral palsy, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120126101451.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins