study finds remarkable link between cerebral palsy and broccoli

For years, scientists here in the United States and across the globe have been working diligently to uncover cures and preventative measures for deadly and debilitating diseases from cancer and AIDS to Alzheimer’s and cystic fibrosis. Interestingly, Canadian researchers are now indicating that they may have discovered an effective method of preventing the onset of cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy is a devastating condition that can cause a host of medical problems in young children ranging from vision, hearing and speech problems to muscle spasms, muscle stiffness and mobility issues. Medical experts believe that the condition is typically caused by a brain injury (i.e., oxygen deprivation) during pregnancy, during delivery or shortly after birth.

Researchers at the University of Alberta have been conducting animal trials designed to explore whether a diet that contains broccoli — a vegetable with a significant amount of antioxidants — can actually serve to protect fetal brain development and prevent the onset of cerebral palsy.

Fascinatingly, the researchers determined that female lab rats fed broccoli sprouts during pregnancy saw fetuses with a considerably more brain resilience than those not fed broccoli sprouts during pregnancy. For example, they found that broccoli consumption prevented anywhere from 60 to 80 percent of the impact of brain injuries.

The scientists determined that the preventative effect can probably be traced to broccoli’s overall chemical effect, which somehow greatly increases the ability of the brain to repel oxidants.

“Often times the simple things are the best,” said Dr. Jerome Yager, the primary author of the study. “They are often not taken as seriously as they should be — but they often are the best.”

According to Yager, the next stage is to conduct human trials, in which pregnant women volunteer to eat a regular diet of the vegetable.

While this study is certainly encouraging, it’s important to point out that it doesn’t necessarily encompass incidences of cerebral palsy caused by a brain injury suffered during delivery. In the majority of these situations, medical negligence — i.e., the failure to adhere to well-established medical standards — is solely to blame.

Please contact a legal professional to learn more if you feel that the onset of cerebral palsy was due to the failure of an OB/GYN to monitor the health of your baby during the delivery or a pediatrician’s failure to diagnose a health issue during your child’s early development.

Source: The Vancouver Sun, “Broccoli sprouts may prevent cerebral palsy, research suggests,” Katelyn Verstraten, May 21, 2013

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