Friel Lab

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Clinical Laboratory for Early Brain Injury Recovery

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We aim to improve hand function in children and adults with cerebral palsy (CP). Our research focuses on the importance of motor activity in neurorehabilitation. 

Our research focuses on the importance of motor activity in neurorehabilitation. We engage people with CP in intensive hand therapies, using intensive play-based therapy or robotic therapy. We use non-invasive brain stimulation to study how intensive hand therapy changes motor circuits in the brain. By better understanding brain structure and function in children and adults with CP, it is hoped that we will best be able to devise new therapies for people with CP. We also study factors that contribute to motor impairments, such as sensory impairment and visual neglect.

The Friel Lab partners with the Center of Cerebral Palsy at Teachers College of Columbia University and Blythedale Children’s Hospital to provide people with CP the most innovative, effective possible hand therapies.

Effects of hand rehabilitative training on the motor representation of the impaired hand in a child with CP.

Effects of hand rehabilitative training on the motor representation of the impaired hand in a child with CP. After training (right), the size and strength of the motor representation of the impaired hand is larger than before training (left) (Friel et al 2016).

Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) in children with CP.

Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) in children with CP. (a1 and a2) Yellow circled regions show the two seeds in diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) color map, axial slices. (b1 and b2) Reconstructed tracts (red fibers) after seeding the ROIs. (Kuo et al 2016)

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