Category Archives: In the News

Ohio Middle Schooler with CP Scores Touchdown

Via: The News-Herald

By: John Kampf

Phillip Colucci has lived his young life with the belief he can do anything.

A seventh-grader from Chardon Middle School who has cerebral palsy, Phillip proved it to everyone else at Nick Carter Stadium at Eastlake North High School on Sept. 27.

Taking a handoff from quarterback Jacob Snow, Colucci scored a 1-yard touchdown run for his first career score in the second quarter of Chardon’s 36-0 win over Willowick.

“I scored a touchdown,” the soft-spoken teenager said through a beaming smile, clutching tight in his hands the game ball the team presented him after the game. “It was kind of exciting.”

Not just for Phillip, but also for his teammates, who wildly celebrated the touchdown.

For his coaches, who met him as he trotted off the field, and hugged him.

For the Chardon fans, including Phillip’s mother who recorded the touchdown from the top row of the bleachers.

And even for those in attendance.

“That,” said one of the men on the chain crew, “is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.”

Phillip always wanted to play football. But it wasn’t until he pulled a fast one on his mother, Sandra, this past spring.

“He came home and told me he was going to play football,” she said. “I was like, ‘Oh, nice. With friends?’ And he said, ‘I signed up for seventh-grade football.’”

Phillip’s proud mother admitted her heart skipped a beat when she heard what her son had done.

Her mind darted back to when she gave birth to Phillip. Sandra and her husband Michael were “devastated” when they found out at 12 months that their son had cerebral palsy — defined by CerebralPalsy.org as “a neurological disorder caused by a non-progressive brain injury or malformation that occurs while the child’s brain is under development.”

But after telling their son “no” for a number of years, and seeing him gain progress in wrestling and weight-lifting over a seven-year span, the Coluccis gave their son the OK to play football for the Chardon Hilltoppers’ seventh-grade team this season.

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Epilepsy Drug Therapies To Be Improved by New Targeted Approach

Via: Neuroscience News

Source: University of Liverpool

New research from the University of Liverpool, in collaboration with the Mario Negri Institute in Milan, published today in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, has identified a protein that could help patients with epilepsy respond more positively to drug therapies.

Epilepsy continues to be a serious health problem and is the most common serious neurological disease. Despite 30 years of drug development, approximately 30% of people with epilepsy do not become free of fits (also called seizures) with currently available drugs.

New, more effective drugs are therefore required for these individuals. We do not fully understand why some people develop seizures, why some go onto develop epilepsy (continuing seizures), and most importantly, why some patients cannot be controlled with current drugs.

Inflammation

There is now increasing body of evidence suggesting that local inflammation in the brain may be important in preventing control of seizures. Inflammation refers to the process by which the body reacts to insults such as having a fit. In most cases, the inflammation settles down, but in a small number of patients, the inflammation continues.

The aim of the research, undertaken by Dr Lauren Walker while she was a Medical Research Council (MRC) Clinical Training Fellow, was to address the important question of how can inflammation be detected by using blood samples, and whether this may provide us with new ways of treating patients in the future to reduce the inflammation and therefore improve seizure control.

The research focused on a protein called high mobility group box-1 (HMGB1), which exists in different forms in tissues and bloodstream (called isoforms), as it can provide a marker to gauge the level of inflammation present.

Predicting Drug Response

The results showed that there was a persistent increase in these isoforms in patients with newly-diagnosed epilepsy who had continuing seizure activity, despite anti-epileptic drug therapy, but not in those where the fits were controlled.

An accompanying drug study also found that HMGB1 isoforms may predict how an epilepsy patient’s seizures will respond to anti-inflammatory drugs.

Dr Lauren Walker, said: “Our data suggest that HMGB1 isoforms represent potential new drug targets, which could also identify which patients will respond to anti-inflammatory therapies. This will require evaluation in larger-scale prospective trials.”

Innovative Scheme

Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, Director of the MRC Centre for Drug Safety Science and Programme lead for the MRC Clinical Pharmacology scheme, said: “The MRC Clinical Pharmacology scheme is a highly successful scheme to train “high flyers” who are likely to become future leaders in academia and industry.

“Dr Walker’s research is testament to this and shows how this innovative scheme, which was jointly funded by the MRC and Industry, can tackle areas of unmet clinical need, and identify new ways of treating patients with epilepsy using a personalised medicine approach”.

Children with Cerebral Palsy May Require More Pain Management, Study Says

Via: Cerebral Palsy News Today

By: Patricia Inacio

Children with cerebral palsy (CP) often have pain that is overlooked by therapists and caregivers, a new study found. This pain frequently has articular (joints) and orthopedic origins, and can be linked to scoliosis and therapies for spasticity, among other causes.

The report, “Prevalence of pain in 240 non-ambulatory children with severe cerebral palsy,” was published in the journal Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine.

Assessing the level of pain in children with CP is important because it occurs frequently and can be aggravated by care. Previous studies have reported the varying frequency of pain in children with CP, but comparing the results of these studies is difficult, the authors stated.

Researchers set out to “estimate the prevalence of pain among a homogeneous population of young and non-ambulatory children with CP and to identify the factors associated with a high risk of pain.”

The team analyzed data from an ongoing clinical trial (NCT01840930) with non-ambulatory children with CP, ages 3 to 10. Researchers determined if pain was present by directly posing two questions to the child and the child’s family, as long as the patient could communicate and understand the questions.

“We also asked whether the child was given analgesics occasionally, which represented a way to better detect the criterion ‘presence of pain,’” researchers wrote.

The level of pain was assessed via a visual analog scale for children able to communicate and with the Douleur Enfant San Salvadour (DESS) scale, a specific measurement for non-communicating children.

In total, 240 children were included in the analysis (107 girls and 133 boys).

Overall, 65 children experienced pain for an estimated pain prevalence of 27.1%. The pain in all of these children was orthopedic in origin. Twenty-six children (45.6%) also experienced pain of another origin.

Regarding pain care, 47.4% of the children were occasionally given analgesics.

“The most frequent pain sites were the hips (43.4%) and the feet (26.9%). The circumstances of pain were joint mobilization in 35/60 children (58.3%). The sitting position was mentioned as painful for 6/58 children (10.3%),” the researchers wrote.

Moreover, the team found that pain increased with scoliosis (43.1% versus 24.1%, with and without pain, respectively) and spasticity treatment (32.3% versus 17.2%, respectively). Scoliosis is a term that describes an abnormal, side-to-side curvature of the spine. Spasticity is a condition in which certain muscles are continuously contracted.

The study suggests that children with CP are often burdened with pain, particularly articular and orthopedic pain. This is often overlooked by caregivers.

“We point to the importance of systematically evaluating pain in these children, especially by therapists and caregivers, as a recommendation or at least as questioning. The treatment of pain should begin as soon as possible, to prevent not only the excentration of hips but also deformation of feet and scoliosis,” the team concluded.

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