Brain Manipulation & Medication to Improve Motor Function

This study is vigorously testing the hypothesis of how maladaptive plasticity (a non-typically developed brain, inflexible to change) could exacerbate motor deficits in children with congenital hemiplegia (a condition affecting one side of the body caused by brain damage before, during or soon after birth). To date, causes remain elusive and effective treatments are in critical need. This study will combine optogenetics, which probes neural circuits at the high speeds needed to understand brain information processing, and live imaging to directly investigate the progressive component of hemiplegic CP that occurs during early development. A better understanding of the cellular basis of this maladaptive plasticity will help the design of new therapies involving manipulation of specific cortical area activity. The study will also aid in identifying new medications to correct mal-development after early brain injury.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Hsiu-Ling Li, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.