An infant child's cries are his or her way of communicating with the world. However, the baby's cries have more information to communicate beyond saying "I'm hungry, " or "I'm tired." The complexity of melody and rhythm within a cry can be an early indicator of a child's pre-speech development. A new study compares the cries of two-month-old infants with cleft lip or palate and those without this condition and finds indications of developmental differences. The authors of the article, published in the May 2011 issue of The Cleft Palate Craniofacial Journal, sought to objectively analyze melody structure of infants' cries using signal analysis techniques. The German study compared 11 infants with cleft lip and palate and 10 infants with cleft palate only with a control group of 50 unaffected infants.
Affecting more than 7, 000 U.S. babies each year, cleft lip and/or cleft palate are the second most common birth defect, the cause of which continues to mystify scientists despite growing evidence of a complex interplay of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors. Barring ways to prevent these malformations in the first place, timely and appropriate treatment becomes critical, say experts from the Cleft & Craniofacial Clinic at Johns Hopkins Children's Center, which treats more than 650 cleft patients each year. The key to such success, the experts say, lies in prenatal diagnosis, early surgery and a carefully synchronized treatment by a team of specialists. "Prompt surgery and treatment by a multi-disciplinary team can ensure normal appearance and function for nearly all babies born with cleft lip or palate, " says pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgeon Richard Redett, M.
An international team of researchers has identified a gene variant that is a major contributor to oral clefts and triples the risk of recurrence in affected families, it was reported today in The New England Journal of Medicine. "Cleft lip and cleft palate are among the most common birth defects in the United States, " says Nancy S. Green, M.D., medical director of the March of Dimes, which helped fund the study. "This new finding brings us closer to understanding the multiple genetic factors underlying these very serious birth defects, with probable environmental effects." The discovery also has important implications for genetic counseling for families who have had one or more children with an isolated cleft lip and/or cleft palate (not associated with any syndrome or other malformation), Dr.
Pioneering research that could lead to a breakthrough in understanding the causes of cleft palate in newborn babies has begun in Manchester, UK. Dr Jill Dixon, in The University of Manchester's School of Dentistry, has been awarded a three-year New Investigator Award by the Medical Research Council to look into the distressing birth defect. Dr Dixon's work will investigate the role of a DNA-binding protein - p63 - during the development of the palate in unborn babies. "During a baby's development the palate forms from two distinct halves that fuse together to form a complete structure separating the oral and nasal cavities, " explained Dr Dixon, who has worked in craniofacial research for the last 14 years. "The underlying developmental mechanisms are poorly understood but recent genetic studies have provided important insights into this complex process.
Results from a Mayo Clinic laboratory study in animals suggest that using distraction osteogenesis, a procedure that uses the mechanical force of an appliance to lengthen soft tissue and bone, may be a feasible and effective method to repair cleft palate in the future. Cleft palate is a common birth defect in which a child is born with a gap in the roof of the mouth. This condition occurs in one out of 700 to 1, 000 births in the United States. "Right now, nobody tries to close cleft palate with distraction osteogenesis, " says Eric Moore, M.D., Mayo Clinic otorhinolaryngologist and one of the study's investigators. "It's used in other areas of the body and other craniofacial problems, but not in cleft palate. Before taking it to the clinic to use in people, we wanted to try it in an animal model.