Cerebral Palsy: A Look Back at 2013 Part 2
Welcome to our second installment of our “Year in Review.” In our first blog, we published samples of the research accomplishments that made the news in 2013, of progress made in the management of epilepsy, and stories of life changing advances in therapies and other interventions.
Today, we look back on the amazing breakthroughs of the year gone by in the fields of technology and prevention, as well as the progress we’ve seen in the quest for awareness. We’ll also share the stories of the inspirational people of 2013 who made the news with their stories of dreams realized and the courage to pursue those dreams!
Last year was a very productive year for researchers in their pursuit of knowledge into what causes the injuries that result in cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities. We learned of a number of research initiatives being conducted involving the potential to prevent and reverse disabilities in children born prematurely. In that study, researchers reported for the first time that low blood and oxygen flow to the developing brain does not, as previously thought, cause an irreversible loss of brain cells, but rather disrupts the cells’ ability to fully mature. This discovery opens up new avenues for potential therapies to promote regeneration and repair of the premature brain.
More research news and funds are being directed to the pursuit of prevention than ever before. We found news of grant monies being allocated to improve outcomes for preterm infants who struggle to take first breaths and news of research initiatives regarding prevention and cure of brain injury leading to cerebral palsy among premature infants. There were also grant awarded to identify infants at greatest risk for developmental impairment.
The discoveries that made headlines in 2013 include studies that showed prenatal alcohol exposure impacts brain development and changes behavior and that elective early-term delivery increases complications for both baby and mother. If the past year is any indication, 2014 should be a year of unparalleled discoveries and breakthroughs in medicine’s quest for prevention as scientist and researchers continue to explore methods and practices to enhance birth outcomes.
Advances in technology for children with cerebral palsy made leaps and bounds last year. Here’s a small sample of some of the amazing and life-changing technology we discovered in the news last year. At the top of our list is the iPad. No other technology has had a more profound impact in the special education classroom, as is evident in this article we discovered titled How the iPad Can Turn Teaching “Special Ed” On Its Head. Children with limited communication skills or an inability to take class notes can now actively participate and have their voices heard for the first time through the iPad and variety of special apps that have hit the market.
Computer technology is changing lives and giving people new hope. No story speaks to these life-changing advances more than the breaking news of eye control for the computer becoming a reality. We’ve delighted in learning of multiple technological breakthroughs that not only give voices to people with severe speech impairments, but are also improving mobility options with devices such as a wheelchair controlled by a tongue piercing, which is said to perform “three times better” than current technology.