Friel Lab

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Clinical Laboratory for Early Brain Injury Recovery

Kathleen M. Friel, Ph.D. - Personal Interview

We aim to improve hand function in children and adults living 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 living 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 living with CP, it is hoped that we will best be able to devise new therapies for people living with CP. We also study factors that contribute to motor impairments, such as sensory impairment and visual neglect.

MRICloud pipeline

Figure 1. Automated image parcellation from MRICloud pipeline using multi-atlas likelihood fusion algorithm. Top (from left to right): T1, axial slice of T1-weighted MRI; Segmented, example of structures following parcellation of whole brain with fully automated brain segmentation tool; GP, globus pallidus (for all images, region of interest in red are from injured hemisphere; region of interest in blue is from uninjured hemisphere); PrCG, precentral gyrus; PoCG, postcentral gyrus; Bottom: CP, cerebral peduncle; CRBL, cerebellum; CST, corticospinal tract (pons); ML, medial lemniscus; THAL, thalamus; PLIC, posterior limb of internal capsule.

Data chart

Figure 2. Children with MCA (middle cerebral artery) demonstrate greater deficits in hand function relative to children with PV (periventricular). Data are presented using elephant plots that include the following: (1) dots that represent individual data points, (2) boxplots (median, interquartile range, minimum, maximum), (3) density plot. (A) Children with PV showed greater performance on Box and Blocks Test compared to MCA, (B) JTTHF (Jebsen Taylor Test of Hand Function); Children with PV showed greater performance on JTTHF compared to MCA (lower scores indicate better dexterity), (C) AHA (Assisting Hand Assessment); Children with PV showed better bimanual function relative to MCA. *P < .05; **P < .01; ***P < .001.

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Kathleen M. Friel, Ph.D.

Conditions & Recovery

Cerebral Palsy icon
Worldwide, over 18 million children and adults are living with CP.
Motor Recovery Icon
Write and walk again.
Pain and Sensory Recovery Icon
Pain free, touch and smell like before.