11:27am Friday 22 September 2017

Researchers use imaging as a tool to predict outcomes for therapy in cerebral palsy

Researchers at Western University have now shown that Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) may be an effective tool to predict which patients will benefit from the therapy and which are likely not to. The study was published in the Journal of Child Neurology.

“Right now we don’t really have a good tool to decide whether these kids are going to respond well to constraint therapy,” said Ravi Menon, PhD, a professor at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and director of Western’s Centre for Functional and Metabolic Mapping. “We need a biomarker that will tell us who might be a good candidate for constraint therapy and who might be better off doing something else.”

The study, which involved seven children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy, showed that children with more compromised networks and tracts in their brains improved the most following constraint therapy.  The researchers were also able to show reliable robust changes in the neuropathways in the brain following the therapy and are now working on identifying the neurological basis for the improvement in the limb function.

“Looking at these networks we were able to see what it looked like at baseline and again after the therapy,” said Kathryn Manning, a PhD candidate at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry and first author on the paper. “We began to see the neurological basis of the clinical improvement. It was a strong change.”

The researchers hope that this initial study will lead to a larger multi-centered trial that will prove their findings on a larger scale.

“If it turns out to be a viable experiment on a larger scale, then this is something that could be done clinically to predict outcomes of constraint therapy relatively easily,” said Menon.

The study was funded by the Ontario Brain Institute. Video of the researchers discussing their work can be found here: https://youtu.be/TihwR8fXeRw

MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Renaud, Senior Media Relations Officer, 519-661-2111, ext. 85165, jrenaud9@uwo.ca, @jeffrenaud99

ABOUT WESTERN
Western delivers an academic experience second to none. Since 1878, The Western Experience has combined academic excellence with life-long opportunities for intellectual, social and cultural growth in order to better serve our communities. Our research excellence expands knowledge and drives discovery with real-world application. Western attracts individuals with a broad worldview, seeking to study, influence and lead in the internationalcommunity.

 

ABOUT THE SCHULICH SCHOOL OF MEDICINE & DENTISTRY
The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University is one of Canada’s preeminent medical and dental schools. Established in 1881, it was one of the founding schools of Western University and is known for being the birthplace of family medicine in Canada. For more than 130 years, the School has demonstrated a commitment to academic excellence and a passion for scientific discovery.


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