Infantile Cerebral Palsy and Leech Therapy
Our brains, although enclosed in a very thick skull, is still a very fragile organ. It can be damaged very easily even if we are still in the womb, such as in the case of infantile cerebral palsy. Since our brain controls all of the functions of our body, a person suffering from this kind of brain disorder is left with motor and sensory impairments.
What is Infantile Cerebral Palsy?
Infantile cerebral palsy is an injury of the brain. It can happen during the fetal development of the child, during the birth of the child or during the first three years of the child's life. This brain injury can result in one-sided involvement or total involvement of the body. Muscle tightness, weakness or involuntary muscle movements can also be seen in patients with infantile cerebral palsy.
Because the brain is damaged, mental retardation and physical growth problems are present as well as vision and hearing problems. Also, there are behavioral as well as social impairments.
What Causes Infantile Cerebral Palsy?
A lot of things or factors can cause infantile cerebral palsy. During fetal development, the fetus may suffer from temporary loss of blood supply, resulting in brain damage. Likewise, when the brain is deprived of blood and oxygen during the child birthing process, the result may also be infantile cerebral palsy. The developing brain can also be damaged by an infection acquired by the mother while the fetus is still in the womb, such as in the case of rubella virus infection. Drugs and alcohol intake during pregnancy also increases the risk of the child developing infantile cerebral palsy.
Other causes of this brain disorder are severe head trauma leading to hemorrhage and subsequent damage to the brain. Diseases and illnesses contracted during the first three years of a child’s life may also lead to this brain disorder; an example of such illnesses is meningitis.
What are the Ramifications and Treatments for Infantile Cerebral Palsy?
Damage to a young brain (however short the duration) is permanent but not progressive, although one can experience changes in the symptoms as an individual gets older. It's not uncommon to see new symptoms emerge as the child grows and as such, there is no real cure for this kind of brain disorder, only treatments to counteract the effects of infantile cerebral palsy.
Medications can be administered to control spasticity and seizures if present, and patients are also encouraged to undergo physical therapy to help with activities of daily living, as well as being prescribed splints and/or braces to help with mobility.
How can Leech Therapy Help Individuals With Infantile Cerebral Palsy?
One of the unpleasant side effects of medications used in patients with infantile cerebral palsy is vascular complications where an individual can suffer swelling and bleeding. Vascular complications compromise health, which can lead to more difficulties. Swelling can also reduce blood flow to the brain and although the brain disorder is not progressive, further injury can result from complications, which may cause possible degeneration of healthy brain cells.
Using medications in conjunction with leech therapy can greatly reduce the risk of vascular complications.
There are many enzymes in leech saliva that are very beneficial to the human body.
Anticoagulation enzymes are known to help blood flow freely to the brain, preventing thickening, which can lead to blood clots. If there are blood clots already present in the body, enzymes from the leech’s saliva will help dissolve them so blood can flow freely.
Another enzyme in the leech's saliva is a histamine-like enzyme, which helps dilate the vessels, promoting good blood flow to the brain. Swelling in the brain is also reduced by anti-inflammatory agents, which are again found in the leech’s saliva.
Antibacterial agents in the saliva of the leech can eliminate harmful bacteria, therefore boosting the immune system and helping it ward off further infection.