Cerebral Palsy Research

University of Michigan clinicians and researchers strive every day to find new therapies and techniques to improve quality of life for individuals living with cerebral palsy. In addition to giving our patients early access to groundbreaking therapies, our extensive involvement in research results in our faculty having a unique understanding of the causes and impacts of cerebral palsy on both adults and children.

Assistive Technologies and Cognitive Testing

University of Michigan researchers are developing adapted versions of standardized tests to provide children with physical and speech impairments with more accessible testing. Our clinicians are leading the development of alternative testing methods that use Assistive Technology (AT) and adapted versions of many cognitive tests focusing on literacy, processing speed and attention impairment among others.

Quality of Life and Treatment Outcomes

The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Michigan are leading studies about quality of life and health outcomes in teens and adults with cerebral palsy, particularly individuals who have had a selective dorsal rhizotomy.

Chronic Disease Risk and Metabolics

As people with cerebral palsy age, U-M researchers have demonstrated that they have a higher risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease than their peers who do not have cerebral palsy. To further understand this, we are investigating how metabolics (oxygen consumption, glucose use) work in people with cerebral palsy.

Exercise, Physical Activity and Fitness

People with cerebral palsy have lower levels of fitness than the general population. We are studying how increasing activity and promoting exercise affects overall health and function.

National Study of Cerebral Palsy Outcomes (The Cerebral Palsy Research Network)

The University of Michigan is part of the Cerebral Palsy Research Network (CPRN) which consists of about 20 sites around the country that are gathering data on individuals with cerebral palsy to determine what factors and which treatments lead to best outcomes.
University of Michigan physicians and staff also routinely author publications and present at national and international conferences on topics of interest to the cerebral palsy community.      

Recent Cerebral Palsy Research Publications

Association Between Maternal Body Mass Index in Early Pregnancy and Incidence of Cerebral Palsy.
Villamor E, Tedroff K, Peterson M, Johansson S, Neovius M, Petersson G, Cnattingius S.
JAMA. 2017 Mar 7;317(9):925-936. doi: 10.1001/jama.2017.0945.

Multimorbidity in Middle-Aged Adults with Cerebral Palsy.
Cremer N, Hurvitz EA, Peterson MD.
Am J Med. 2017 Jan 5. pii: S0002-9343(16)31304-3. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2016.11.044. [Epub ahead of print]

Nutrition and physical activity in people with cerebral palsy: opposite sides of the same coin.
Verschuren O, Peterson MD.
Dev Med Child Neurol. 2016 May;58(5):426. doi: 10.1111/dmcn.13107. Epub 2016 Mar 6. No abstract available.