Study: Mirror Movements Could Be Clinical Markers in Young CP Patients

Monitoring the frequency of so-called mirror movements seen in young children who have cerebral palsy (CP) due to perinatal stroke could help to indicate the level of disability, according to a new study published in Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology.

The study, conducted by researchers at Alberta Children’s Hospital and the University of Calgary, focused on learning more about the changes that occur in the brains of babies who have experienced strokes.

Among their findings was that the transmission of signals between the left and right hemispheres of a baby’s brain is impacted by stroke.

That could explain why mirror movements are seen in some young children who have had strokes.

Mirror movements are unintentional movements on one side of the body that mimic intentional movements on the other side of the body. For example, when an affected child intentionally raises his right hand, and his left hand could also involuntarily be raised.

The research studied 92 children ranging in age from 4 to 17 years. All of the children had unilateral CP due to strokes that happened just before or shortly after birth.

Researchers said in their paper, “Clinical mirror movements correlate with disability and corticospinal organization in children with unilateral CP with perinatal stroke. This simple bedside biomarker could facilitate patient selection for personalized rehabilitation.”

According to their report, the frequency and intensity of mirror movements could indicate how much of the child’s brain was injured by the stroke and how much the brain had reorganized to compensate.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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