The Response: CP-NET – The Childhood Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy Integrated Neuroscience Discovery Network
Cerebral palsy is the most common physical disability in children. One in 300 individuals suffer from it.
It’s caused by an injury to the brain, usually as a result of a stroke before, during or shortly after birth. The result is weakness or partial paralysis, potentially compounded by challenges to thinking and communicating, as well as seizures and uncontrollable behaviour.
The impacts on individuals and their families can be devastating. And life-time costs to the health care system can be as high as $1.5 million per person.
The Ontario Brain Institute challenged neuroscientists across the province to come up with a new approach to addressing cerebral palsy, in the context of an Integrated Discovery program. “Integrated Discovery” is a unique template, developed by the OBI, that brings together researchers, clinicians, industry and patient advocates to maximize fresh insights and speed translation of those insights into better care.
The result was CP-NET: The Childhood Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy Integrated Neuroscience Discovery Network.
The program aims to advance knowledge and treatment of cerebral palsy on a wide range of fronts by:
- creating the largest cerebral palsy database in the world, part of the OBI’s Brain-CODE initiative.
- developing a much more detailed neurological picture of the four main types of hemiplegic cerebral palsy.
- investigating the role of genetic risk factors in cerebral palsy, leading to better genetic counseling.
- exploring innovative approaches to therapy, including the use of video games and robots.
The CP-NET initiative involves eight major institutions in five Ontario cities, 27 researchers and clinicians, 12 industry partners and six patient advocacy organizations.