Computer Modeling Could Help People With Cerebral Palsy

At the University of Queensland in Australia, researchers are working on a project that they hope will help individuals with Cerebral Palsy learn to walk and move more easily.

Dr. Glen Lichtwark from UQ’s School of Human Movement Studies believes that computer models will shed light on areas that are not well understood, including the effect Cerebral Palsy has on muscle function from childhood to adulthood.

“The computer modeling allows us to make ‘virtual’ changes,” explains Dr. Lichtwark. “Including lengthening muscles or increasing strength, and to identify if particular treatments will improve the patient’s ability to move more freely.”

For a parent of a child with Cerebral Palsy who is considering various therapies or surgeries, such technology could provide clues on what to expect. Previously, it had been difficult to determine the impact a surgery had on walking.

“Patients often need medical treatment and surgery to maintain mobility and manage muscle weakness, spasticity, joint stiffness and reduced muscle control. What we really want to know is how a specific treatment might impact an individual, so treatments can be tailored to that individual to maximize treatment success.”

Dr. Lichtwark is collaborating with researchers from the Queensland Cerebral Palsy and Rehabilitation Research Centre at UQ’s School of Medicine.


What’s promising?

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