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New ultrasound technique for cerebral palsy diagnosis


Children with cerebral palsy are set to benefit from the first study of its kind in the UK.

Cerebral Palsy (CP) is notoriously difficult to manage because of the different degrees of severity and clinical difficulties in assessing the results of treatment. One of the answers could be to use ultrasound scanning to visualize the damage to muscles and assess their condition.

Around 200 children, aged three to six years, will undergo tests to explore how ultrasound can be used to measure muscle fibres and gain new insight into the relationship between muscle condition and CP.
Scientists at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Institute for Biophysical & Clinical Research into Human Movement will undertake the three-year study, which is being funded by Cerebra, the Foundation for Brain-Injured Infants.

MMU in collaboration with Booth Hall Hospital, in Manchester will compare muscle-tendon measurements and behaviour in 100 healthy children and 100 children with CP.

The principal investigator Dr Costis Maganaris, a senior research fellow in musculoskeletal science at MMU, said: “By building up a picture of how the muscles and tendons in children with CP respond to different treatment methods and compare those with healthy children, we hope to be able to provide a relatively simple way of assessing the severity of CP, optimise clinical decision-making and assess the effectiveness of treatment.

“The implications are important because current CP diagnosis relies on complicated tests (such as gait analysis) that are difficult to run, require a whole team of experts, are often unavailable and have many limitations. As a result, decisions are often taken based on limited information.”
Dr Maganaris will be working closely with Professor Bill Baltzopolous at MMU and Dr Tim Meadows, a consultant paediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Booth Hall Hospital, Manchester, who will refer children with CP to the scheme. Healthy children will be sought locally in the Cheshire area.

David Williams, of Cerebra, which awarded £170,000 to the study, said: We are delighted to be able to fund this much-needed work.”

Gareth Hollyman | alfa

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