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Opt Express. 2010 Dec 6;18(25):25973-86. doi: 10.1364/OE.18.025973.

Quantification of functional near infrared spectroscopy to assess cortical reorganization in children with cerebral palsy.

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  • 1Department of Bioengineering, University of Texas at Arlington, Joint Graduate Program in Biomedical Engineering between University of Texas at Arlington and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, 501 West First Street, Arlington, TX 76019, USA.


Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common motor disorder in children. Currently available neuroimaging techniques require complete body confinement and steadiness and thus are extremely difficult for pediatric patients. Here, we report the use and quantification of functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to investigate the functional reorganization of the sensorimotor cortex in children with hemiparetic CP. Ten of sixteen children with congenital hemiparesis were measured during finger tapping tasks and compared with eight of sixteen age-matched healthy children, with an overall measurement success rate of 60%. Spatiotemporal analysis was introduced to quantify the motor activation and brain laterality. Such a quantitative approach reveals a consistent, contralateral motor activation in healthy children at 7 years of age or older. In sharp contrast, children with congenital hemiparesis exhibit all three of contralateral, bilateral and ipsilateral motor activations, depending on specific ages of the pediatric subjects. This study clearly demonstrates the feasibility of fNIRS to be utilized for investigating cortical reorganization in children with CP or other cortical disorders.

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