How PET imaging could benefit children with cerebral palsy

For this study, 31 patients with GMFCS scores of 4 and 5 (indicating worse motor function) who had normal MRI scans underwent F-18 FDG-PET after sedation. Imaging was assessed by two nuclear medicine physicians.

After calculating regional glucose metabolic activity on both the right and left cerebral hemispheres, experts observed asymmetric metabolic reductions in the central region, cerebellum, frontal lobe and parietal lobe.

Researchers then studied whether these values ​​correlated with GMFCS scores. Metabolic activity values ​​of the basal ganglia, left temporal lobe and cerebellum correlated negatively with the scores. When the left cerebellum was put into focus, researchers noted higher metabolic activity values ​​in comparison to the right cerebellum in most patients.

“This marked asymmetric pattern largely reflects physiological developmental changes, rather than structural abnormalities or the clinical presentation of CP,” the authors wrote. “Our results indicate a significant correlation between regional glucose metabolism and the extent of motor impairment, as assessed by GMFCS level.”

The authors added that their findings should encourage further development of their approach in situations when patients with CP do not display structural abnormalities on MRI, as it could help providers differentiate CP associated with different levels of motor impairment.

To view the detailed study, click here.

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