Doctors claim cerebral palsy 'cure'

Research into stem cell treatments has shown promising progress Photograph: Getty Images

Medics in Germany said they have successfully treated a child with cerebral palsy for the first time.

Just weeks after being given an intravenous stem cell treatment from umbilical cord blood, the symptoms of a boy who had been left in a vegetative state after a heart attack improved considerably and within months he could talk and move.

The doctors who carried out the treatment said the results of the treatment dispel "long-held doubts" surrounding the effectiveness of stem cell therapy.

After going into cardiac arrest in November 2008, the two-year-old boy, known only as LB, was left paralysed with severe brain damage and in a vegetative state. Doctors warned his parents that his chances of survival were minimal.

Until now, there has been no treatment for the cause of what is known as infantile cerebral palsy.

Dr Arne Jensen of the Campus Clinic Gynaecology in Bochum, who carried out the new treatment, said: "In their desperate situation, the parents searched the literature for alternative therapies. They contacted us and asked about the possibilities of using their son's cord blood, frozen at his birth."

Nine weeks after the brain damage, on January 27, 2009, the doctors administered the prepared blood intravenously.

They studied the progress of recovery at two, five, 12, 24, 30 and 40 months after his brain injury.

Usually, the chances of survival after such severe brain damage and more than 25 minutes of resuscitation are just 6%.

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Doctors claim cerebral palsy 'cure'

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