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An area family may soon have a cure for their son's debilitating neurological disorder.
When Brett Brown was born, he appeared to be a normal and healthy baby boy, but by the time he was six months old, his parents began to notice that Brett was not developing as quickly as he should.
Doctors initially diagnosed Brett with cerebral palsy. However, when Brett was two years old, a therapist talking with Brett's family correctly diagnosed Brett with Angelman's Syndrome, a neruo-genetic disorder.
Angelman's Syndrome, or AS, is often characterized by delays in development and intellect with jerky movements, especially hand-flapping, and frequent laughter and smiling. The cause of AS is usually linked to missing genes in a chromosome inherited by the patient's mother.
Though Brett, who turns 10 this May, is without any kind of brain damage, he functions as a two year old. Brett requires around the clock care and is unable to walk or talk.
Recently, Brett's parents Brandi and Wayne Brown of Shady Point, learned of a clinical trial in Florida that could improve Brett's symptoms.
â€śIt's like we won the lottery,â€ť says Brandi. â€śThis could change his life for the better.â€ť
Brett was selected among 24 other AS sufferers to participate in a clinical trial of the drug minocycline in order to treat his AS. Minocycline is a drug that has been traditionally used as an antibiotic. In mice, the drug has shown a significant improvement in increasing motor function and brain function.
Brett, his mother and father, and older brother and younger sister will travel to Florida in two weeks to participate in the trial. Brett will be tested and then given an eight week supply of minocycline.
The family will then travel back to Florida two more times for continued testing so that doctors can evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment.
While Brett will likely continue to have some problems, doctors are hopeful that he may be able to catch up developmentally to other children his age.
AS is named for British pediatrician Dr. Harry Angelman who first described the syndrome in 1965.