New Zealand gets its first successful stem cell therapy to treat brain damage. This Auckland twin underwent experimental treatment in the United States, using her own umbilical cord blood.

Three months ago, Maia Friedlander, 4, struggled to talk, walk properly or even chew her food without choking. her twin sister, Ariel, hit all her developmental milestones about six months early, Maia did not learn to crawl till she was three.

The breakthrough came in February when they met American mother Mary Schneider, whose son, Ryan, was the first to undergo cord blood transfusion for his brain injury at Duke University, North Carolina.

Five years on, he is developmentally normal.In August, Maia and her mother, Jillian, travelled to the US, where she received a two-hour infusion of her own cord blood, stored by her parents at birth.Within days, her concentration and coordination improved. Maia now goes to kindergarten five days a week.