New device helping people with Cerebral Palsy

It may just look like a can of tuna, but for a teen with one of the most common congenital disorders, it's making a world of a difference.

Now there is a new device that could bring big relief to millions living in constant pain.

Kim Taylor calls her son Matthew the real life Forrest Gump.

Matthew's Mother Kim Taylor explains how much he loves to run. "He will just run and run and run. We have to make him stop."

It's something she thought she'd never see the teen do.

Kim says, "He was 15 months when he was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy we were told he'd probably never walk unassisted."

Matthew has had three major surgeries, wore leg braces and received Botox injections to reduce spasticity, painful and uncontrollable muscle spasms and tightness millions with CP suffer. But he eventually developed a tolerance to Botox. That's when doctors had him try something new.

Assistant Professor and Program Director for Pediatric Rehabilitation at University of Florida, Jacksonville Louise Spierre, MD, explains the new device, "What the baclofen pump does is help relax muscles that are pulling things out of their natural position."

Implanted under the skin it continuously shoots baclofen directly to the spine. Doctor Louise Spierre believes it's a better option than Botox and baclofen pills.

Dr. Spierre MD, explains the advantages to the pump. "The advantage of the pump is that the medication is all delivered to the spine so very little of it ends up in the brain."

The doctor says in some patients the pump can reduce muscle stiffness and spasms immediately. Matthew started feeling the effects in a week. Now he's traded in his braces for Nikes.

Matthew says, "It felt good. I felt loose. I felt great."

He runs cross-country for his high school and half-marathons to raise money for sick kids.

Matthew explains how much the pump has helped him. "If it wasn't for the pump I'd be in a wheelchair right now."

The pump is refilled every 3 to 6 months, and replaced every 5 to 7 years. The dosage can easily be turned up or down.

Risks of the device include over or under medication and infection from surgery. Some of the pumps were recalled in 2011 due to low battery performance, but Doctor Spierre says that problem has been fixed.


REPORT: MB # 3463

MORE ABOUT SPASTICITY: Spasticity is described as tight, stiff muscles or spasms that may make movement, posture, and balance difficult. It may affect your ability to move one or more of your limbs, or to move one side of your body. Sometimes spasticity is so severe that it gets in the way of daily activities. It is caused by damage or injury to the part of the central nervous system (the brain or spinal cord) that controls voluntary movement. That damage disrupts important signals between the nervous system and muscles, creating an imbalance that increases muscle activity or spasms. (SOURCE:

•Brain injury
•Cerebral palsy
•Multiple sclerosis
•Spinal cord injury

•Increased muscle tone
•Overactive reflexes
•Involuntary movements, which may include spasms
•Decreased functional abilities and delayed motor development
•Abnormal posture
•Permanent contraction of the muscle and tendon due to severe persistent stiffness and spasms
•Bone and joint deformities

ITB THERAPY (BACLOFEN PUMP): Medtronic ITB Therapy, also called the baclofen pump, is an adjustable, reversible treatment for severe spasticity. A surgically placed pump and catheter deliver liquid baclofen directly to the fluid around the spinal cord, where it's needed most. Because Lioresal Intrathecal is delivered directly to where it's needed most in the spinal fluid, it relieves spasticity with smaller amounts of medication than when baclofen is taken orally. This method of delivery may help minimize side effects that can result from oral baclofen. People who suffer from severe spasticity resulting from cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, stroke, brain injury, or spinal cord injury may be a candidate for ITB Therapy. (SOURCE:

For more information on the SynchroMed II Programmable Pump by Medtronic, please visit:


Louise Spierre, MD
University of Florida
(904) 633-0926

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