UK Hospital Starts World’s First Medicinal Trials of Cannabis on Children Born with Brain Injuries

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Researchers claim the first step to help treat seizures and brain injury in babies has finally begun as the UK starts the first cannabis-based drug trial on babies. This trial counts as the world’s first medicine trial of such a nature.

Oscar Parodi has instantly become the first baby to join the promising medicine trial, right after a few hours of being born, at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (Nicu) at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Investigations are continuing as researchers study whether or not the said medicine that’s derived from the plant cannabis, could reduce the extent of brain injuries in babies who acquire them with neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), a condition that occurs because the placenta isn’t able to provide sufficient oxygen or blood flow to the baby.

The study has caused a positive stir in the unit says Professor Paul Clarke, consultant neonatologist at the hospital where the trial is taking place.

He further added that this trial is first of its kind especially as it includes medicine that is derived from cannabis and for the first is being used to treat babies. He hopes that it will prove beneficial in the prevention of seizures and also in the safeguarding of the health of babies who have HIE.

The trial was randomized and two babies were enlisted for it so far.

The babies will continue to receive standard protocol treatment for HIE that includes hypothermia treatment. In it, the body is cooled to a temperature of at least 33.5C and given one dose of the medicine or a drug that’s a placebo. After the does, researchers perform tests to note levels of the medicine in the babies’ bloodstream.

The first baby to enroll in the drug trial, Oscar was born through an emergency c-section, he was surprisingly in a bad condition was required to be sent immediately to the Nicu. There he was treated with hypothermia treatments for 72 hours.

Chelsea Parodi the mother of the child consulted her mother and brother who is becoming a paramedic before enrolling her baby in the study for his betterment.

She goes on to describe how difficult the decision was for her at the time but it was equally important to help her child.

Oscar ended up staying nine days at the hospital under constant monitoring of 24 hours and came out healthy and doing well says his mother as she expressed her gratitude for Dr. Clarke and his competent team that helped her child.

On the subject, Prof Clarke admitted he received sufficient support from people who took part in their researches at Nicu on the chance that it may help and benefit the lives of future babies to come.

Parents are particularly interested in this trial because they get to see a closer inspection of their babies’ brains as the babies enjoy a very advanced monitor that studies their brain waves and parents can see that taking place.

The monitor used on trial babies ensures that seizures will be recorded if found and this is a reassuring aspect for parents, says Prof Clarke.

Unexpected and unknown side effects and risks however do persist as is the case with studies of other new medicines, he added.

Keeping such chances and risks of problems in mind, the researchers have made sure to carefully design the trial so that it may be safe as can be for the babies partaking in the trial. He added that babies are only given tiny doses at the start of the trial and even then they are closely monitored even more than they are required to.

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