Cerebral PalsyMagnesiumPregnancy

Reducing the risk of cerebral palsy with magnesium

Magnesium sulfate is given to prevent seizures in pregnant women with preeclampsia (high blood pressure, edema, and protein in the urine) and to inhibit preterm labor.

This Medscape report from the meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine states that injections of magnesium sulfate may protect against moderate to severe cerebral palsy.

First, the details.

  • 2241 women were randomly assigned to receive placebo or a 6-gram injection of magnesium sulfate, followed by 2 grams of magnesium sulfate every hour for up to 12 hours.
  • 87% of the women who entered the study had experienced a preterm membrane rupture.
  • The women in the 2 groups had similar gestational age, risk factor for preterm birth, and proportion of twins.

And, the results.

  • Evaluation at the age of 2 years revealed that babies born to women treated with magnesium had a significantly lower rate (2%) of moderate to severe cerebral palsy compared to placebo (4%).

The bottom line.
The authors estimated that magnesium sulfate treatment of 63 women would spare 1 infant from cerebral palsy.

The study is impressive because it took more than 6 years to complete and involved more than 2000 women at 20 hospitals across the US. The results support earlier preliminary research results.

One remaining question is how magnesium works to reduce the risk of cerebral palsy.

2/9/08 13:15 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.