Magnesium reduces Cerebral Palsy

Magnesium reduces cerebral palsy risk

ATLANTA, GEORGIA. Cerebral palsy is a serious muscle disorder caused by brain anomalies which affects babies even before they are born. It is particularly prevalent among very low-birth-weight babies (weight less than 1500 g at birth). These babies are also at much greater risk of being mentally retarded.

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now report that administration of magnesium sulfate to pregnant women prior to giving birth reduces dramatically the incidence of cerebral palsy and mental retardation among very low-birth-weight infants. Their study involved over 1000 very low- birth-weight infants born live in the Atlanta region between April 1986 and March 1988. The researchers found that babies born to mothers who had been given magnesium sulfate for pregnancy complications were 10 times less likely to be born with cerebral palsy and more than three times less likely to be born with mental retardation than were babies born to mothers who had not been given magnesium sulfate prior to giving birth. The researchers conclude that giving magnesium sulfate to all mothers in danger of delivering a very low-birth-weight infant might prevent 63 per cent of all cases of cerebral palsy and 49 per cent of all cases of mental retardation in low-birth-weight babies. They caution though that some women may have contraindications to magnesium sulfate therapy.

Schendel, Diana E., et al. Prenatal magnesium sulfate exposure and the risk for cerebral palsy or mental retardation among very low-birth-weight children aged 3 to 5 years. Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 276, No. 22, December 11, 1996, pp. 1805-10
Nelson, Karin B. Magnesium sulfate and risk of cerebral palsy in very low-birth-weight infants. Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 276, No. 22, December 11, 1996, pp. 1843-44 (editorial)