Understanding the impact of bilateral brain injury in children with unilateral cerebral palsy: Human Brain Mapping

A.M. Pagnozzi, K. Pannek, J. Fripp, S. Fiori, R.N. Boyd, S. Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The presence of bilateral brain injury in patients with unilateral cerebral palsy (CP) may impact neuroplasticity in the ipsilateral hemisphere; however, this pattern of injury is typically under-analyzed due to the lack of methods robust to severe injury. In this study, injury-robust methods have been applied to structural brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data of a cohort of 91 children with unilateral CP (37 with unilateral and 54 with bilateral brain injury, 4–17 years) and 44 typically developing controls (5–17 years), to determine how brain structure is associated with concurrent motor function, and if these associations differ between patients with unilateral or bilateral injury. Regression models were used to associate these measures with two clinical scores of hand function, with patient age, gender, brain injury laterality, and interaction effects included. Significant associations with brain structure and motor function were observed (Pearson's r =.494–.716), implicating several regions of the motor pathway, and demonstrating an accurate prediction of hand function from MRI, regardless of the extent of brain injury. Reduced brain volumes were observed in patients with bilateral injury, including volumes of the thalamus and corpus callosum splenium, compared to those with unilateral injury, and the healthy controls. Increases in cortical thickness in several cortical regions were observed in cohorts with unilateral and bilateral injury compared to controls, potentially suggesting neuroplasticity might be occurring in the inferior frontal gyrus and the precuneus. These findings identify prospective useful target regions for transcranial magnetic stimulation intervention. © 2020 The Authors. Human Brain Mapping published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2794-2807
Number of pages14
JournalHum. Brain Mapp.
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • bilateral
  • cerebral palsy
  • interventions
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • plasticity
  • Article
  • basal ganglion
  • brain cortex atrophy
  • brain injury
  • brain size
  • brain stem
  • capsula interna
  • cerebrospinal fluid
  • child
  • cohort analysis
  • cortical thickness (brain)
  • disease association
  • female
  • gray matter
  • Gross Motor Function Classification System
  • hand function
  • hemiplegia
  • human
  • image segmentation
  • imaging algorithm
  • inferior frontal gyrus
  • lateral brain ventricle
  • leukomalacia
  • major clinical study
  • male
  • motor performance
  • nerve cell plasticity
  • neuroimaging
  • nuclear magnetic resonance imaging
  • precuneus
  • primary motor cortex
  • priority journal
  • splenium
  • supplementary motor area
  • thalamus
  • transcranial magnetic stimulation
  • white matter


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