“Inflammation-induced Apoptotic Cell Death Mediated by FasL”
Principal Investigator: Michael Bell, MD
Institution: University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA
Despite the association between inflammation and white matter damage, the mechanisms responsible for the pathological processes in pregnant mothers and infants remain elusive. This project aims to test the hypothesis that one or another of the caspase cell death cascades are crucial to neuronal death in a model of inflammation-induced or inflammation-enhanced developmental brain injury. Most of the motor handicap in children born prematurely is now understood to be due to diffuse white matter damage resulting from programmed cell death. These investigators are evaluating the relationship between lipopolysaccharide present from infection and inflammation to programmed cell death.
“A Molecular Target of Hypoxic-Ischemic Injury in Developing Brain and Cerebral Palsy”
Principle Investigator: Ahamed Hossain, PhD
Institution:Kennedy Krieger Institute
Hypoxic- Ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) due to fetal or neonatal asphyxia is the most common cause of chronic neurological disabilities such as cerebral palsy. This proposal aims to determine how a neuronal protein known as neuronal pentraxin 1 (NP1) contributes to brain injury as it has been identified as part of the molecular cascade of neuronal death from a hypoxic-ischemic event. Understanding the biochemical and molecular mechanisms of brain damage may help identify therapy targets to prevent the cascade of events that lead to wide-spread tissue injury and resulting cerebral palsy after the initial insult from HIE has occurred.
“Prevention of Cerebral Palsy with Sulfonylurea”
Principal Investigator: Scott Rivkees, MD
Institution: Yale University School of Medicine
New Haven, CT
Dr. Rivkees is investigation the ability of a drug already used in the clinical treatment of chronic hypertension to favorably influence white matter development in the premature infant brain thereby preventing a major cause of cerebral palsy. This could lead to a very early neuroprotective treatment for premature infants.
“Mechanisms of pre-natal injury to white matter”
Principal Investigator: Patrick Kanold, PhD
Institution: University of Maryland
Dr. Kanold is studying the role of subplate neurons in the maturation of the inhibitory cortical circuit in the fetal brain. Specifically this research will help to determine if and how an injury from a hypoxic/ischemic event in the womb (a major risk factor for cerebral palsy) leads to altered development of the thalamocortical circuitry and if maturation can be restored and brain activity normalized through the administration of a pharmacological gent in early development.
“Developing a Communication System for Children with Cerebral Palsy”
Principal Investigator: Mary Jo Hidecker, PhD
Institution: Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan
While classifications of gross motor function and hand function have been created and validated for individuals with cerebral palsy, no analogous functional communication classification is available for use in CP practice and research. The lack of a quick, reliable, valid communication classification tool limits the comparison of descriptive CP epidemiological studies as well as the interpretation and generalizability of CP treatment studies. The purpose of this study is to develop and validate a Communication Function Classification System for Children with Cerebral palsy. This tool will be used in combination with existing tools that assess motor function and manual ability to better capture a comprehensive view of the daily lives and functional abilities of individuals with CP.
“The Application of Chaotically Induced Gait Perturbations to Improve Walking in Teenagers with Cerebral Palsy – Middle East Stepping Forward”
Principle Investigator – Simona Bar-Haim, PhD
Institution: Assaf Harofeh Medical Center
The clinical study aims to determine the feasibility of incorporating the Chaotic Perturbation Technique in the treatment approach for improving gait in a group of teenaged children with diplegic cerebral palsy. Investigators from Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Morocco, and Italy are participating in this multi-site study.
“Neuroimaging for Early Recognition of CP”
Hausman Awardee: Emily Wing Yun Tam, M.D.C.M.
Insitution: University of California San Francisco
Dr. Tam is using advanced neuroimaging techniques to develop better assessment tools for the early recognition of cerebral palsy to allow patients to benefit from interventions during a critical time of neurodevelopment.
“Long term outcomes of Intrathecal Baclofen”
Principal Investigator: Ruth Benedict, DrPH, OTR
University of Wisconsin – Madison
Dr. Benedict is evaluating the long term health outcomes of intrathecal baclofen, a popular treatment for muscle spasticity, in children and young adults with cerebral palsy. This is an important, unique study in that there is very little knowledge on how the long term use of this treatment will affect the adult with cerebral palsy in terms of well being, function, burden of care and social participation.
“Bone Growth in Children with CP”
Principal Investigator: Christine Houlihan, MD
Institution: University of Virginia, School of Medicine
Dr. Houlihan is studying bone growth and structure in pre-pubertal and adolescent children with cerebral palsy. This study will yield information as to when and what type of intervention can be used to maximize bone accrual in this critical period so that future fracture risks in this susceptible population are minimized.
“Racial Disparities in Cerebral Palsy”
Principal Investigator: Yvonne Wu, MD, MPH
Institution: University of California, San Francisco
Dr. Wu is evaluating a large California health outcome database to determine if black term babies have a higher rate of CP than other racial groups and if so, potential risk factors.
“Robot-Mediated Task-Specific Therapy in CP- Block vs Random Presentation”
Principal Investigator – Deborah K. Hamby, MD
Riley Hospital for Children
Dr. Hamby is examining whether task-specific shoulder and elbow robot – assisted training followed by wrist robotic training improves motor performance among children with moderate to severe CP, and whether random presentation of the video targets leads to a better outcome than block presentation among children with CP.
“Design and testing of an ankle robot to improve gait in children with CP”
Fellow –Panagiotis Artemiadis, PhD
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The broad goal of his project is to develop a pediatric version of MIT’s adult size anklebot and to develop a quantitative understanding of the contribution of the human ankle to lower-extremity function in children with cerebral palsy. The project’s specific aim is to design and prototype a pediatric ankle robot, characterize the static and dynamic, passive and active mechanical impedance of the human ankle in multiple degrees of freedom in children, and to determine the clinical impact of this technology in the rehabilitation of children with cerebral palsy. This project has potential to make a significant contribution to the newly emerging field of neurorehabilitation for children with cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders.