Babies at High Risk of Cerebral Palsy

By Ryan Mccann
Friday, 24 May, 2013



A new General Movements Assessment (GMA) is being rolled out across Australia to identify babies at high risk of cerebral palsy.
Delegates who travelled to the second Cerebral Palsy Prevention and Cure Summit hosted at the National Institute of Health in Maryland USA this month undertook training in the assessment, which involves expert examination of video recordings with babies with Neonatal Encephalopathy (NE) or prematurity. Abnormal general movements can identify the baby as being at very high risk of cerebral palsy.
Cathy Morgan from Cerebral Palsy Alliance says the use of the GMA has the potential to identify babies who will benefit the most from accessing vital early intervention therapies for cerebral palsy.
“We could one day even see smart phones being used to help video at-risk babies, supporting the vital work done in intensive care units,” Ms Morgan says. Exciting developments following the Summit include a commitment for an international study to test the viability of smart phone videos being used as part of the GM Assessment. The study will assess whether smart phone videos of young babies, taken and submitted by parents, are accurate enough to be used to identify babies at high risk of being diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
Funding for GMA training has been supported by the Balnaves Foundation which was established in 2006 by philanthropist Neil Balnaves AO.  “I think it is appalling that although cerebral palsy is the most common physical disability in childhood, less than $US5million worldwide was spent last year on research to find a cure,” Mr Balnaves says.

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