Richard B. Silverman and others at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL recently created two chemical compounds that look promising in protecting the fetus from later developing cerebral palsy from lack of oxygen at birth.
The compounds work by blocking the enzymes that produce nitric oxide. Excessive nitric oxide is produced in the brain after hypoxia has occurred and can lead to brain damage. Delivering the compounds 30 minutes prior to the hypoxic insult resulted in a 100 percent survival rate of the test animals. All of the animals given the placebo died.
Although tests on humans may be several years down the line, Silverman stated that the compounds could be used prior to c-sections to diminish the risk of brain damage and reduce the instances of cerebral palsy in humans.