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Did Your Newborn Suffer Cerebral
Palsy or Another Brain Injury Before
or During Labor and Delivery?

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Our Birth Brain Injury Resource Guide

the guide

Get a FREE guide of resources available throughout Ohio to children and families of children who were born with brain injuries.

Our guide can help you build a foundation of knowledge and tools that will help you help your child
now and in the future.

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Cooling Therapy – Alternatives

Following the initial resuscitation and stabilization of a newborn, treatment of HIE usually includes hypothermia therapy for encephalopathy. But, this is not the only form of treatment in an attempt to stop the death of cells to avoid the likelihood of brain damage or death.

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Magnesium Therapy

Magnesium is one potential therapy to consider as it works to block certain receptors in a gated manner. Given the role that amino acids play in the events leading up the death of cells, using magnesium to block receptors makes sense. Magnesium is safe to use in perinatal medicine and is often administered to mothers who are delivering prematurely as evidence shows better neurodevelopmental outcomes in the premature babies.


Elk & Elk

Erythropoietin (EPO) is a glycoprotein that occurs naturally and is frequently used to stimulate erythropoiesis. It is a particularly safe form of treatment for premature babies suffering from anemia. EPO has shown to have several possible mechanisms for neuroprotection. If offers such protection against apoptosis and also have anti-inflammatory effects, working to prevent the death of neurons. Research has found that when the first dose is given to infants born with moderate HIE within the first 48 hours of birth, infants’ neurological scores improved dramatically.

Stem Cell Therapy

In infants with HIE, endothelial cells and neurons are damaged which leads to widespread apoptosis and necrosis. It has been found that stem cell transplantation could help with the replacement of damaged cells and the release of both anti-apoptotic and trophic factors which might have anti-inflammatory effected. It has been suggested that stem cells offer the possibility of long-term positive benefits with just a single intervention. What’s more, stem cell therapy has shown to repopulate the damaged area of the brain, improving the healing environment.

N-Acetylcysteine (NAC)

This treatment has previously been recognized for its ability to treat liver injuries. But, it has a few different mechanisms for treating HIE, including being an anti-inflammatory agent, free radical scavenger, antioxidant, and anti-apoptotic properties. Particularly, the melatonin acts as a free radical scavenger of oxygen. It works to decrease inflammation and stimulate antioxidant enzymes, crossing the blood brain barrier. Melatonin has already proved to improve outcomes in adults after stroke.


Anticonvulsant medication has also been studied as a potential neuroprotector for a variety of reasons. Infants with HIE have an increased likelihood of seizures, which can amplify any damage that has already occurred. Early prevention or even the reduction of seizure activity might help reduce that likelihood of brain injury. Seizure activity and HIE can cause damage by releasing excessive amounts of excitatory amino acids. Most anticonvulsant medications have a range of pathways of action which may provide neuroprotection.

While the above alternatives to cooling therapy for infants born with HIE have mostly been tested on adults and animals, there remains a great deal of hope for mothers and newborns.