Measuring Changes in Brain Connectivity Following Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy in Children with Cerebral Palsy
Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) is a new neurosurgical procedure that can permanently eliminate lower limb spasticity by dividing some of the nerve roots from the lower limbs as they enter the spinal cord. This allows children with cerebral palsy to become more mobile and to walk, sometimes without assistance. Despite the success of this procedure little is known about its effect on brain connectivity. This project involves the measurement of resting-state fMRI and diffusion tractography to monitor changes in connectivity pre- and post-surgery over time and is focused on the technical challenges, such as image registration, when analyzing multiple time point imaging data in the presence of the different brain lesions that may occur in cerebral palsy. The work will lead to tools that can help to predict outcomes following the procedure and in selecting those children most likely to benefit from SDR.