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October 2011

Cerebral Palsy and Stem Cell “Therapy”. ABR position.

Today I am going to touch a very sensitive subject – the issue of Stem Cell treatments for Cerebral Palsy.

Obviously,  I am being asked about it frequently nonetheless,  for a long period of time I preferred to keep very neutral – sticking to the explanations about ABR itself leaving it up to the parent to make a decision.

However, recently couple of parents came up with a different perspective – pointing out that this “diplomatic” stance is being of a disservice to the parents because whenever there is an expectation of miracle – it is very difficult to keep a cool head and most of the parents of special needs children vote with their heart only.

Unfortunately, voting with the heart is the sure path to extremely poor decision-making when it comes to Cerebral Palsy.

The most difficult thing for you is to step back far enough and to get a full bird’s eye perspective of what are the fundamentals behind a certain advertised “therapy for Cerebral Palsy”, how exactly does it fit into a larger picture of your child’s long-term developmental progress as well as the context of your resources.

If you limit yourself to the question “Is it a good therapy for Cerebral Palsy?” – if you start your reasoning from such a point – you are guaranteed to be steered away from solid decision-making.

You really need to start much earlier and truly understand the fundamentals in order to judge a  Cerebral Palsy “therapy” correctly.

That’s why this video stretched into 3 parts – first 2 cover the starting points of your decision-making and due diligence, which are applicable not only  to the “stem cell” issue but to pretty much any therapy for Cerebral Palsy that you might come across.

Only the 3rd part addresses the “Stem cells for Cerebral Palsy” issue specifically.

I realize that often enough parents tend to be impatient and have this background voice that is saying: “C’mon Mr. Blyum, let’s not stretch the philosophical part too far – give me the specific answer…” – at the expense of sounding boring, paternalistic and even offensive – I’d put it bluntly:

There are 2 strategies that you can take as a parent:

  • 1. Being smart and trying to educate yourself getting a better vantage point and seeing the big picture
  • 2. Being a smartass – fast forwarding through the big strategic matters and skipping them in order to get to the tactical ‘substance’ faster.

I leave the choice to you – that’s why even though I initially wanted to merge the 3 parts into a single video – I am leaving them separate and letting you decide whichever route you’d want to take.

Obviously, comments and feedback an heated discussions are more than welcome. There is nothing worse than silence. This blog’s intent is to discuss important, complicated and controversial matters, which have far more than a single perspective at them.

I do not fool myself on being so explicitly clear and convincing that there are no questions left afterwards – on opposite, if anything – this blog is an invitation to the conversation, to the opening of the ‘brackets’ and to the exposure of dangerous myths.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

P.S. On behalf of all of you I want to thank the family who asked me the ‘stem cell’ question this time and was happy to share some of the personal matters to the benefit of the fellow special parents.