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CP Discovery Lab - Research Highlights

Welcome to our Research Highlights page! Up to date information on findings and publications arising from our research studies can be found on this page.

Research participants: if you have recently received a letter of appreciation from our group and wish to find highlights from the study you were a part of, please select the name of the study or REB # below.

Childhood Cerebral Palsy Integrated Neuroscience Network (CP-NET) - Clinical Database Platform (REB: 13-450)

Please visit for research highlights regarding this study.

Childhood Hemiplegic CP Integrated Neuroscience Discovery Network (REB: 11-279)

Hemiplegic cerebral palsy (CP) is a subtype of CP in which one side of the body is involved. Genetics have increasingly been found to a play a role in the cause of this syndrome. The objective of the study was to assess the role of novel genetic mutations in individuals with hemiplegic CP to refine the understanding of the genetic risk factors. 97 children between 2-18 years (59 male, 38 female) were recruited from nine clinical centers across Ontario. The results suggested that hemiplegic CP can be associated with novel and rare inherited genetic mutations. The presence of these mutations and those involving well-defined genomic disorders among the sample suggest the benefits of testing for diagnostic purposes in hemiplegic CP.

Zarrei M, Fehlings DL, Mawjee K, Switzer L, Thiruvahindrapuram B, Walker S, Merico D, Casallo G, Uddin M, MacDonald JR, Gazzellone MJ, Higginbotham EJ, Campbell C, deVeber G, Frid P, Gorter JW, Hunt C, Kawamura A, Kim M, McCormick A, Mesterman R, Samdup D, Marshall CR, Stavropoulos DJ, Wintle RF, Scherer SW. De novo and rare inherited copy-number variations in the hemiplegic form of cerebral palsy. Genet Med. 2017 Feb;20(2):172-180

Please visit for more research highlights regarding this study.

Cerebral Palsy Causes to Prevention - Phase 1: The Canadian Cerebral Palsy Registry GTA Division (REB: 10-179)

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An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Functional Electrical Stimulation paired with intensive therapy to Improve hand function in Children with Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy (REB: 15-549)

Children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy (HCP) have difficulty reaching for and manipulating objects. This study investigated the feasibility of using functional electrical stimulation (FES) therapy to improve grasp and hand function in children with HCP. A prospective pre-/post-test/follow-up (six months) design with three children, aged 6–13 years, was used. FES was found to be safe and well tolerated, and after 4 months of therapy, 2/3 children had improved their grasping skills as measured with the Quality of Upper Extremity Skills Test. Treatment effectiveness results on other domains (e.g., grip strength, manipulating objects with two hands, and range-of-motion) were mixed. This study helped to identify key areas that could be modified in future investigations evaluating the effectiveness of FES in HCP. Recommendations include considering a home based FES therapy approach to alleviate time-burden and boost recruitment and introducing a comparison group into the study design to help compare improvements seen with FES to improvements seen in the comparison group over the same time period.

Garzon, L., Switzer, L., Musselman, K.E., & Fehlings, D. (2018). The use of functional electrical stimulation to improve upper limb function in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy: A feasibility study. Journal of Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies Engineering. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/2055668318768402

MEG Measures of Sensorimotor Plasticity in Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy During Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy (REB: 13-449)

Our preliminary analyses of the data show that there is an increase in the strength of the sensory message to the hemiplegic hand after Constraint Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT). From a clinical perspective, this highlights the importance of including sensory (e.g. touch, feel) experiences in a constraint camp. Sensory functioning is closely linked to how well we can move our hand and so this improved sensory functioning may be one of the ways that CIMT works.

Manuscript preparation is underway.

Neuro-Exergaming for All: Bringing Fun, Social Engagement and Physical Activity to Children with Cerebral Palsy (REB: 17-710)

Preliminary analysis from our after-school program yielded exciting results that we can successfully balance game play by gross motor functioning; however we are still investigating aim assistance by building a visualization tool that allows us to replay the game. We are optimistic that our results will also yield new avenues to explore and better assist aim in these children.

Manuscript preparation is underway.