Brain structural connectivity increases concurrent with functional improvement: evidence from diffusion tensor MRI in children with cerebral palsy during therapy.

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2015-01-09

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Abstract

Cerebral Palsy (CP) refers to a heterogeneous group of permanent but non-progressive movement disorders caused by injury to the developing fetal or infant brain (Bax et al., 2005). Because of its serious long-term consequences, effective interventions that can help improve motor function, independence, and quality of life are critically needed. Our ongoing longitudinal clinical trial to treat children with CP is specifically designed to meet this challenge. To maximize the potential for functional improvement, all children in this trial received autologous cord blood transfusions (with order randomized with a placebo administration over 2 years) in conjunction with more standard physical and occupational therapies. As a part of this trial, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used to improve our understanding of how these interventions affect brain development, and to develop biomarkers of treatment efficacy. In this report, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and subsequent brain connectome analyses were performed in a subset of children enrolled in the clinical trial (n = 17), who all exhibited positive but varying degrees of functional improvement over the first 2-year period of the study. Strong correlations between increases in white matter (WM) connectivity and functional improvement were demonstrated; however no significant relationships between either of these factors with the age of the child at time of enrollment were identified. Thus, our data indicate that increases in brain connectivity reflect improved functional abilities in children with CP. In future work, this potential biomarker can be used to help differentiate the underlying mechanisms of functional improvement, as well as to identify treatments that can best facilitate functional improvement upon un-blinding of the timing of autologous cord blood transfusions at the completion of this study.

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10.1016/j.nicl.2015.01.002

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Englander, Zoë A, Jessica Sun, undefined Laura Case, Mohamad A Mikati, Joanne Kurtzberg and Allen W Song (2015). Brain structural connectivity increases concurrent with functional improvement: evidence from diffusion tensor MRI in children with cerebral palsy during therapy. NeuroImage. Clinical, 7. pp. 315–324. 10.1016/j.nicl.2015.01.002 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/24667.

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Scholars@Duke

Jessica Muller Sun

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Mikati

Mohamad Abdul Mikati

Wilburt C. Davison Distinguished Professor

Mohamad A.  Mikati M.D., is the Wilburt C. Davison Professor of Pediatrics, Professor of Neurobiology, and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Neurology. Dr. Mikati’s clinical research has centered on characterization and therapy of pediatric epilepsy and neurology syndromes, describing several new pediatric neurological entities with two carrying his name (POSSUM syndromes # 3708 and 4468), developing novel therapeutic strategies for epilepsy and related disorders particularly Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood, and applying cutting edge genetic and Magnetic Resonance Imaging techniques to drug resistant pediatric epilepsy.  In the laboratory he has elucidated mechanisms of seizure related neuronal injury, particularly those related to the ceramide pathway, and demonstrated neuroprotective effects of several agents including erythropoietin. Most recently he has concentrated his laboratory research on the pathophysiology of ATP1A3 dysfunction in the brain as model for epilepsy and of Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood. He has more than 290 peer reviewed publications, 400 abstracts 41 chapters one book and two booklets. He also has more than 10,497 citations in the literature with an h-index of 58 and an i-10index of 190. Dr. Mikati has written chapters on epilepsy and related disorders in the major textbooks of Pediatrics and Pediatric Neurology including Swaiman’s Pediatric Neurology and Nelson’s Pediatrics. Before joining Duke in 2008 he had completed his M.D. and Pediatric training at the American University of Beirut, his Neurology at the Massachusetts General Hospital, his Neurophysiology at Boston Children’s Hospital and had been on the Faculty at Harvard as Director of Research in the Epilepsy Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and then as Professor and Chairman, Department of Pediatrics, Founder and Director of the Adult and Pediatric Epilepsy Program at the American University of Beirut. Dr. Mikati has had several international leadership roles including being President of the Union of the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Pediatric Societies, on the Standing Committee of the International Pediatric Association (IPA), Chair of the Strategic Advisory Group on Early Childhood Development of the IPA, Officer of the International Child Neurology Association, Consultant to UNICEF, WHO, and the American Board of Pediatrics. He was selected to organize and chair the American Epilepsy Society's Merritt-Putnam Symposium and was one of only two Pediatric Neurologists, initially chosen worldwide, on the WHO advisory committee for the International Classification of Disease. He has received several national and international honors including, among others, Merritt Putnam American Epilepsy Society Fellowship Award, Harvard Community Health Plan Peer recognition Award, Debs Research Award, Hamdan Award for contributions to Medicine, Hans Zellweger Award for contributions to Pediatric Neurology, Patient Choice Award and the Michael Frank Award for research and lifetime contributions to the field of Pediatric Neurology.

Kurtzberg

Joanne Kurtzberg

Jerome S. Harris Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics

Dr. Kurtzberg is an internationally renowned expert in pediatric hematology/oncology, pediatric blood and marrow transplantation, umbilical cord blood banking and transplantation, and novel applications of cord blood and birthing tissues in the emerging fields of cellular therapies and regenerative medicine.   Dr. Kurtzberg serves as the Director of the Marcus Center for Cellular Cures (MC3), Director of the Pediatric Transplant and Cellular Therapy Program, Director of the Carolinas Cord Blood Bank, and Co-Director of the Stem Cell Transplant Laboratory at Duke University.  The Carolinas Cord Blood Bank is an FDA licensed public cord blood bank distributing unrelated cord blood units for donors for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) through the CW Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program.  The Robertson GMP Cell Manufacturing Laboratory supports manufacturing of RETHYMIC (BLA, Enzyvant, 2021), allogeneic cord tissue derived and bone marrow derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs), and DUOC, a microglial/macrophage cell derived from cord blood.

Dr. Kurtzberg’s research in MC3 focuses on translational studies from bench to bedside, seeking to develop transformative clinical therapies using cells, tissues, molecules, genes, and biomaterials to treat diseases and injuries that currently lack effective treatments. Recent areas of investigation in MC3 include clinical trials investigating the safety and efficacy of autologous and allogeneic cord blood in children with neonatal brain injury – hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), cerebral palsy (CP), and autism. Clinical trials testing allogeneic cord blood are also being conducted in adults with acute ischemic stroke. Clinical trials optimizing manufacturing and testing the safety and efficacy of cord tissue MSCs in children with autism, CP and HIE and adults with COVID-lung disease are underway. DUOC, given intrathecally, is under study in children with leukodystrophies and adults with primary progressive multiple sclerosis.

In the past, Dr. Kurtzberg has developed novel chemotherapeutic drugs for acute leukemias, assays enumerating ALDH bright cells to predict cord blood unit potency, methods of cord blood expansion, potency assays for targeted cell and tissue based therapies. Dr. Kurtzberg currently holds several INDs for investigational clinical trials from the FDA.  She has also trained numerous medical students, residents, clinical and post-doctoral fellows over the course of her career.

Song

Allen W Song

Professor in Radiology

The research in our lab is concerned with advancing structural and functional MRI methodologies (e.g. fast and high-resolution imaging techniques) for human brain imaging. We also aim to improve our understanding of functional brain signals, including spatiotemporal characterizations of the blood oxygenation level dependent contrast and alternative contrast mechanisms that are more directly linked to the neuronal activities. Additional effort is invested in applying and validating the developed methods to study human functional neuroanatomy.


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