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Background: Task-dependent neurophysiological adaptations in people with cerebral palsy have been examined using various techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, peripheral nerve stimulation in order to assess H-reflexes, and transcranial magnetic stimulation. This activity-dependent plasticity is hypothesized to improve specific gross motor function in individuals with cerebral palsy. Although these adaptations have been examined extensively, most studies examined tasks utilizing the upper limbs. The aim of this review is to assess the neurophysiological adaptations of the central nervous system in individuals with cerebral palsy during lower limb functional tasks. Methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis will be conducted to evaluate the neurophysiological changes in the brain and spinal cord associated with lower extremity tasks in individuals with cerebral palsy. We will search within PubMed, MEDLINE, Embase, PsychINFO, and CINAHL using a predetermined search string to identify and evaluate relevant studies. Two independent reviewers will screen these studies against our inclusion criteria and risks of bias, and will extract the data from each study. A third reviewer will be used to resolve any disagreement regarding the inclusion of a study between reviewers. Randomized controlled trials as well as cross-sectional studies published in English 10 years before May 2021 that investigate the neurophysiological adaptations in the brain and spinal cord in people with cerebral palsy will be included if they meet the eligibility criteria. Primary outcomes will include scalar values of fractional anisotropy (FA), H-reflex gains or measures of amplitude, as well as motor cortex (M1) cortical excitability as measured by transcranial magnetic stimulation. Discussion: Since no identifiable data will be involved in this study, no ethical approval is required. Our results will provide insight into the neurophysiological adaptations in children with cerebral palsy, which will be useful in guiding directions for clinical decision making and future development of targeted interventions in pediatrics rehabilitation for children with cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy; Walking; Neuroplasticity; Neurophysiology; Systematic review
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Neurophysiological Assessments of Brain and Spinal Cord Associated with Lower Limb Functions in Children with Cerebral Palsy: A Protocol for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.
Brain Sciences, 11(5),