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1 Date: February 26th, 2015 Name: Paul Purnell Teacher Name: Lisette Nenninger, Erin Raney School Name: St Anne School School Address: 101 W. Lee St Seattle, WA, Western Washington Enter this essay into English Language Learner Category: No

2 Cerebral Palsy In 1961 Christopher Purnell was born in Ohio. The doctors had experienced trouble during birth but Chris was fine. But as he grew older my uncle never met of the milestones that any normal baby would go through. He never rolled over, never walked, never was even able to hold his head. In 1963 my uncle was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy or CP. Cerebral Palsy is a term that refers to impairments due to damage in the cerebral cortex of the brain. 5 About 3 out of 1,000 people will be diagnosed. 1 Chris was diagnosed with severe CP which would impact his life forever and eventually cause him to pass on. At the time Chris was born, there was little hope for those with CP, but thanks to biomedical research on the brain, that is changing. The root of CP is damage to the brain. This damage will usually occur before or during birth leaving a group of cells dead or damaged. An on going study at the Hopitaux de Paris is diving into the role genes play in causing the brain trauma before birth. 3 The study is testing the mutations of the COL4A1 gene which is responsible for making tissue used in the brain. The study is testing for mutations in the gene in 150 people with prenatal brain damage and in their relatives to see if there is correlation between the brain damage and the shared genetic mutations of the gene. My dad was always told that Chris brain damage had happened at birth 6, but recently studies have shown this happens in only 9% of people. 2 Maybe Chris was predisposed to suffer damage but if the link between genes and prenatal brain damage is fully proved, we will know more about why the damage happens.

3 CP is a non progressive disorder, but as the body ages the impairments become more or less apparent. 5 When he was younger, my uncle could walk and talk, but by 30 he couldn t. For Chris one of the few treatments available was physical therapy. More recently a new type of physical therapy has developed called Constraint Induced Therapy (CIT). Recently The Health Professional Science of Rehabilitation at the University of Milan did a study using the Function Independent Measure (FIT) to see how CIT benefited people with CP. 4 In a trial using 233 patients, each person was tested on FIT, received the therapy, and was tested again to compare results. An increase of 95% on the FIT test was found after therapy. Effective therapies such as this one might have helped my uncle and will help others. The damaged cells in my uncle s brain could never be fixed to tell the heart to beat consistently or tell muscles to move but for others there soon may be a way to do so. A study by Sung Kwang Medical Foundation in South Korea may show us the key to curing CP by actually regrowing the brain cells that were destroyed. 3 The study experimented with a combination of stem cells, umbilical cord blood, and EPO (a hormone that controls healing). In the study, 105 CP patients under 18 were recruited. After the testing, the group receiving the blood showed better results on therapy than the control group. Although from this study no certain conclusion can be formed about the benefits of stem cells, when a Duke University study is completed in 2016 we may know if CP will become curable.

4 Thanks to Biomedical research and researchers studying the brain, Cerebral Palsy may soon have an easy cure. I am amazed about how far treatment for CP has come since my uncle was born in the 1960 s. The future is looking hopeful for people with CP for hopefully soon Cerebral Palsy will become irrelevant. Reflection Paragraph Writing this essay helped me understand a lot about Cerebral Palsy. I had always known that that was the name of the thing my uncle died from. I never really understood what it really was. By interviewing my dad I began to understand that my uncle and all other people who suffer from the impairment are normal people trapped inside a damaged body. I never knew my uncle had a business and I never knew that uncle enjoyed watching his nephew grow up. 6 Chris was my dad s hero because he never gave up or gave in the the terrible thing that had happened to him. 6 He always worked hard and hard enough to get a degree in computers from a junior college. 6 That is why my middle name is Christopher. There is hope for the other people out there like him thanks to the amazing things being discovered by Biomedical Researchers everyday.

5 Works Cited 1. Cerebral Palsy. Ed. Dr. Alan Koretsky. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes, Web Cerebral Palsy. Ed. Dr. James Blackman. Cerebral Palsy International Research Foundation, Web Clinical Trials. US National Library of Medicine, Web Constraint Induced Therapy. National Center for Biomedical Information, Web My Child. Ed. Ken Stern. Cerebral Palsy.org, Web Purnell, Charles J. Brother of Chris. Personal Interview. 1 February, 2015.

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