In 2007, a Little Foundation study examined over 600 children with cerebral palsy in seven European countries in order to find the most common causes so that potential preventive strategies can be targeted most effectively. In November 2009, our chairman Lord Hameed tabled a motion in the House of Lords asking the Government what measures have been taken to prevent cerebral palsy which now costs the NHS £4 billion every year.
In June 2010, Lord Hameed hosted a seminar of experts at the House of Lords to discuss new evidence that can assist the prevention of cerebral palsy and other developmental disorders of the brain. Chaired by Lord Turnberg, the seminar heard from a number of eminent scientists, including our scientific director Professor Michael Crawford, also director of the Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition; Dr Enitan Ogundipe of Chelsea & Westminster Hospital; and Professor Mark Johnson of Imperial College London.
The results of another research project supported by The Little Foundation, examining the relationship between Epilepsy and Autistic Spectrum Disorders (asd) in children, have recently been published. This study compared the differences in skills and behaviours of children with both asd and epilepsy and those with asd alone. The important differences found have both diagnostic and therapeutic implications.
The scientists at the 2009 seminar reported new evidence that severe brain disorders such as cerebral palsy may have infectious-nutritional causes prior to the normal birth date. New evidence suggests that the foetal stages of brain development are put at risk by malnutrition affecting brain-specific fats and thus their ability to control inflammations caused by maternal infections. The implications are that cerebral palsy, like neural tube defects, is preventable and also that, with very early detection and intervention, the outcomes of the condition may be ameliorated.
In addition, the Foundation has sponsored over 20 international seminars/workshops on related topics including:
- The Thyroid
- Specific Learning Disorders
- The Placenta
- Aids, HIV, Viruses and Brain Damage
- Non-accidental Head Injury
- Drugs in Pregnancy
- Neuroprotection of the Infant Brain
- Folic Acid