Cerebral Palsy

Establishing a Comprehensive Motor and Behavioural Profile for Spastic Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common pediatric neurological condition and is a permanent disorder of the development of movement and posture, that causes activity limitations, as a result of non-progressive lesion to the fetal or infant brain. Although the injury to the brain is static, progressive changes in functional status occur throughout the lifespan with the development of secondary conditions (e.g., muscle contracture, pain and fatigue) related to the initial. These secondary conditions are typically the result of the interaction between body growth, muscle weakness, and muscle tone abnormalities associated with the primary disturbance of the brain. Two of the most commonly reported secondary impairments are severe pain and chronic fatigue and have been demonstrated to contribute to premature decline in mobility and function and result in increased need for physiotherapy services. When asked, individuals with CP have stressed the impact fatigue has on many aspects of physical function and quality of life. As there is limited information regarding the management or prevention of secondary conditions associated with CP, in 2008 several international research bodies co-hosted a workshop dedicated to identify important gaps in the current knowledge base and develop a set of recommendations to guide future research. The proceedings suggested further research related to management and prevention of secondary conditions is needed to maximize function and support individuals with CP as they age.

We are investigating a comprehensive motor and behavioral profile for youth with diagnosed cerebral palsy as well as youth without cerebral palsy to identify similar and different development. 

Study Partners

  • Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute
  • Vi Riddell Pediatric Rehabilitation Research Program

Who is participating?

Youth aged 8-18 with and without cerebral palsy.

What are participants doing?

Research will be conducted in the Riddell Movement Assessment Center at the Alberta Children’s Hospital for the 3-hour session. Biomechanical and aerobic metabolism will be conducted during a 6-Minute Walk Test. Questionnaires assessing a variety of Quality of Life, Fatigue and Health questionnaires will be administered. Finally, strength of muscle groups in the lower limbs will be assessed in this 3-hour session. Spasticity in the knee and ankle joints will be measured using a new device called the portable spasticity assessment device (PSAD) at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. Daily physical activity will be monitored with an Actigraph for 7-10 days. 7-10 days later, a DXA scan and repeat of the strength will be assessed in a 90-minute session at the University of Calgary.

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