Genes potentially linked to triggering cerebral palsy in children identified by researchers

Researchers in Toronto have identified new genes that could be linked to cerebral palsy in children, affecting their ability to move and maintain balance. The study conducted by scientists at SickKids, RI-MUHC, and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital was published in the journal Nature Genetics.

The research, spanning seven years, aimed to uncover genetic variants contributing to the physical disability. Historically, cerebral palsy was believed to be primarily caused by environmental factors during birth, but this study sheds light on the genetic component involved in the condition.

Dr Stephen Scherer, Chief of Research at SickKids, noted the significance of the findings, stating, “Now that we have a better understanding of the complex relationship between cerebral palsy’s genetic and environmental factors, we hope we can improve care for these children.”

Through whole-genome sequencing of 327 children with cerebral palsy and their biological parents, researchers found that over 10% of children had a genetic variant for the condition. Additionally, 17.7% had variants that may be linked to cerebral palsy after further investigation.

Dr Maryam Oskoui, a senior clinician scientist at RI-MUHC, emphasized the importance of personalized treatment based on the complex genetic and environmental factors influencing the development of cerebral palsy. This breakthrough sets a foundation for improved care and understanding of the condition.

The study marks a significant advancement in the field of cerebral palsy research, providing insights into the genetic underpinnings of the condition. With further investigation and understanding, researchers aim to tailor treatment strategies to individual patients based on their unique genetic and environmental risk factors.


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