SNI Research Aims to Expand Cerebral Palsy Therapy Options

November 14, 2012 Angeli Mayadev, MD

Before they learn to crawl or walk, about 10,000 babies every year in the United States will develop a condition that will change how they will do just that. Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological condition caused by a brain injury before birth, during delivery or before a child’s second birthday. An estimated 800,000 Americans live with CP.

The most common symptom in CP is spasticity, an increase in muscle tension that impairs proper movement. Abnormal postures or movements, weakness or loss of muscle control and rigidity are also part of the constellation of CP signs and symptoms. While physical therapy remains the cornerstone for treatment, new medications and therapies for CP are being developed to help improve and manage symptoms.

Currently, Swedish Neuroscience Institute is participating in a study to determine the safety and tolerability of one such medication. Dalfampridine (AMPYRA ®) is a medication currently used to help improve walking speed in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. This phase I clinical trial aims to evaluate AMPYRA’s® safety, tolerability and its effect on sensorimotor function of adults with CP. The study will look at how single and multiple doses of the medication have on CP patients, including:

  • Hand strength
  • Manual dexterity
  • Walking speed
  • Gait

There is no cure for cerebral palsy. Therapies for CP center around helping people achieve their highest wellbeing and most independent life. SNI is one of nine clinical test sites in the nation tasked with study, which makes participation even more important to the scientific advances that phase I trials offer. As a center of excellence, SNI is uniquely suited to meet this healthcare challenge. Clinical research is an essential part of SNI, as it provides our patients with options they would not otherwise receive, and brings our staff to the head of medical knowledge. has a full list of qualifications for people interested in participating in this study. To learn more about this or other CP studies, please contact coordinator Colleen Ottinger at 206 320-3695 or 206 320-2200.

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