Spasticity of the upper limbs is largely linked to cerebral palsy, particularly spastic cerebral palsy. This condition is the most common type of cerebral palsy and hinders the development of healthy motor functioning in children.
Identifying spastic cerebral palsy
Children who suffer from spastic cerebral palsy often have stiff or jerky movements. This is due to:
- Incorrect signal to muscles from the brain
- Damage to brain and spinal cord neurons called the corticospinal tracts and corticobulbar tracts
- Inability to control individual muscles or certain muscle groups
This makes the ability to perform daily tasks (getting dressed, eating, drinking, writing, etc.) difficult or nearly impossible. The inability to utilize limbs for balance may make standing and walking difficult or impossible.
Spasticity can affect the upper and lower limbs, as well as speech. When assessing this condition, doctors often determine:
- Which muscles are affected
- Severity of spasticity in certain muscles
- How well a child with cerebral palsy is able to control affected muscles
- A child’s ability to perform certain tasks
- Strength of certain muscles and range of motion in the joints
Botox, a potential remedy for Spastic Cerebral Palsy
Derived from the bacterial toxin botulin, Botox is widely used to remove wrinkles and treat conditions affecting the muscles. However, this drug may soon be used to treat children suffering from spasticity of their upper limbs, according to an article in The Irish Times.
Allergan, the company that produces Botox, plans to manufacture a vast supply of the drug for children ages two to 17 who suffer from this condition. The drug is currently being scrutinized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specifically for pediatric purposes. The FDA’s decision to allow pediatric use will be announced in the final quarter of 2019.
The effectiveness of Botox in treating spasticity was supported in two separate studies – one of which involved 235 patients with cerebral palsy or who have suffered a stroke.
In the first study, patients and doctors were made aware of the use of Botox, allowing for a potential placebo effect. The remaining patients and doctors weren’t aware of the use of Botox. In the second study, Botox was found to be effective in lower limb application involving 284 patients with cerebral palsy.
The birth injury attorneys at Goldberg & Schulkin Law Offices will continue to watch these and other developments that could mitigate the effects of cerebral palsy. If your child has developed this preventable condition due to a birth injury, contact our law firm in Chicago or Milwaukee to find out how we can help. We offer free, no-obligation consultations.