The Preemie Growth Project has had excellent results utilizing micronutrients to help premature infants improve their development, and now project leaders believe they can help those with cerebral palsy improve development as well.The Preemie Growth Project is a non-profit organization headquartered in West Bloomfield, Michigan. While exploring ways to help premature infants catch-up to the development of full-term infants, they realized that during the last trimester of growth inside the womb full-term infants receive micronutrients from their mothers from the healthy foods that they eat; nutrients that preemies don’t receive. According to the medical director of the Detroit Institute for Children Dr. Eileen Donovan, “The micronutrients are trace elements that are normally found in the fresh foods we eat. They started looking at kids who are born prematurely, because normally, the micronutrients would be passed from the mom to the baby through the mom’s diet during the last trimester.”
The executive director and founder of the PGP, Ida Briggs, said that they have seen good results using micronutrient therapy on preemies. Babies gain weight faster and arrive at development milestones closer to when their full-term counterparts reach them. Briggs thought about using micronutrient therapy for those with cerebral palsy after she heard about a 9-month-old infant whose weight went from 12 to 22 pounds in just 10 weeks of supplementation with micronutrients.
Briggs and her co-researchers believe that in addition to the weight gain seen in cerebral palsy patients, there will also be an improvement in neurological function, and have seen such results in their treatment program. “He had no head, neck or trunk control,” Briggs said about one boy who had received the treatment at PGP. After six to eight weeks, Briggs said that the boy could use a visual eye gate (typing device) to hold the very first conversation he’d ever had in his life. PGP is also reporting “dramatic improvement” in 11 or the 27 participants in the micronutrient therapy program. One mother of a participant in the program said that her son has made significant progress in just two months of micronutrient therapy. “He started gaining weight,” Melissa Jenkins said. “It was about two weeks in and we noticed his appetite was improving.”