Hoping to someday find M's brother adopted in the U.S. -
Myckola Oleksandrovych Markov - 8/26/2003

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Premie Growth Project

I recently found an interesting research project.  Its called The Premie Growth Project.

The idea is that premature babies miss out on a lot of nutrition given in a very specific micronutrient form via their umbilical.  It sort of poses the question of what really causes brain damage?  Premature birth or lack of nutrition given in a very specific way for a baby's brain to finish developing.  (I'm paraphrasing.  This is how I read and processed the info.)  Of course some people know that their baby has a very specific type of brain damage or a brain defect, so this isn't claiming to be a "miracle" cure.  BUT there is evidence of children who have CP making vast improvements after several weeks or months on a specific micronutrient supplement.

I did a little research and decided that while it may not do anything, it really couldn't hurt anything to try it either.  We know Mariah's birth mother very likely didn't have good nutrition or prenatal care while she was pregnant.  We also know that Mariah did not receive good nutrition while in Ukraine.  She was VERY malnourished when we came home with her.  Her hair was crunchy, her toenails and fingernails were paper thin and peeling. After being here only 4 months, hair started to grow in places all over her scalp that there hadn't been hair before!  I even wondered to myself if her extremely tight muscles and low energy weren't all a result of CP and were partly because of her poor diet.  I did my best to fatten her up with the most nutritional high calorie things I could find.

She went from 24lbs (4 yrs old) to 34lbs (5 yrs old) in about a year.  Then she just didn't gain anymore even though she ate well.  We found out, via my INSISTING this was NOT normal even for a child with CP, that she still had Girdia, an intestinal parasite (this is also common for children adopted from Eastern Europe).  Ack!  Once again, my poor girl wasn't getting enough nutrition because the parasites were stealing it all!  Once treated, she begin to gain weight again and her appetite improved even more.

Mariah has made vast improvements since we brought her home.  She was not walking or even weight bearing much at all in Ukraine.  A Dr. who saw her here after she'd been home 4 months told me that she'd probably NEVER walk unassisted.  That was when she was getting fitted for her first pair of AFOs and a gait trainer.  Six months later, she was walking unassisted on flat surfaces inside.  Now, at 21 months home she can walk all over the place outside, go up and down stairs, get into and out of a bathtub, climb up on a stool, and ride a tricycle.

Is it all PT and the love of a family or could it also be that nutrition plays a role?

Well, that's the question isn't it?

We started the supplements 6 days ago.  On day 2 Mariah's tutor said she used her right hand all day to cut with scissors and write letters.  She has spasticty in that arm and I asked her when she got home why she used it?  She said, "It feels looser."

On day 4, during our nightly PT routine, I couldn't get Mariah's right foot to react with clonus no matter what I did.  Her right side is the most affected and that right foot ALWAYS has clonus.  My husband tried as well.  Mariah just laughed.  She said, "Its not really that tight and its not shaking!"


She still has plenty of spasticty elsewhere in her body and her ankles are still spastic, but what would cause the clonus to NOT be present?  Ever?  Even for an evening?

Today is day 6.

We shall see what this week brings!

I am a HUGE skeptic.  I do not believe that a supplement is going to cure all kids with CP, but there is research that supports the idea of micronutrient supplementation helping premature babies.

Go check them out if you're interested!  We submit bi-weekly reports.  They want it all.  The good, the bad, the nothing at all!  Best of all, they mail the supplement to you.  For free.

Premie Growth Project   

Oh and please take a look at our hosting fund on the sidebar.  Yes.  Its at $0.  Please considering donating even if its just a tiny amount.  Every.single.little.bit. helps!

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We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life; but those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them,are carried on the wings of destiny; and placed among us by God's very own hands. --Kristi Larson