Information for Parents of Children with Cerebral Palsy

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Cerebral Palsy Linked to Herpes

Jan 6, 2006
Ivanhoe Newswire

"Babies exposed to herpes group B viruses either shortly before or after birth have an increased-risk for cerebral palsy, according to a recent study from the Adelaide Women's and Children Hospital in Australia.

Researchers studied newborn blood samples from 1,200 babies, one-third of whom were diagnosed with cerebral palsy. They screened the samples for a group of viruses that affect brain cells, including herpes group B viruses, which can cross from mother to baby in utero.

Investigators found blood from babies who developed cerebral palsy were nearly twice as likely to contain a herpes group B virus. They also found babies born prematurely were more likely to have been exposed to a neurotropic virus near birth.

"The risk of cerebral palsy is nearly doubled with exposure to herpes group B viruses but may require other factors, such as genetic susceptibility to infection and inherited thrombophilia or involvement of other clinical events," says Catherine Gibson, Ph.D., lead author of the study.

Gibson notes, however, despite the evidence, it is too early to draw any firm conclusions about a link between exposure to viral infection and cerebral palsy. She says future studies are planned to investigate these factors."

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