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CHLA researcher receives $1.5 million to study pediatric cerebral palsy

Childrens Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) researcher Tishya Wren has been awarded two federal grants to study the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders in children with cerebral palsy.

Wren, who also is an assistant professor of research in orthopaedics and biomedical engineering at the Keck School of Medicine, received a $1.5 million grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to study the impact of gait analysis on surgical outcomes.

The five-year study will examine how the results of multi-joint surgery change when a surgeon has access to the information provided by comprehensive gait analysis testing, a specialized diagnostic test performed at the state-of-the-art John C. Wilson Jr. Motion Analysis Laboratory in the Childrens Orthopaedic Center at CHLA.

“We have previously shown that pre-operative gait analysis testing results in changes to surgical plans in 90 percent of children seen in our motion analysis laboratory,” Wren said. “What needs to be established now is the extent to which these changes in surgical plans translate into improved post-surgery outcomes and quality of life for our patients.

“If we can demonstrate a positive impact of gait analysis testing. This specialized technology should become more widely available and more children will be able to benefit.”

Wren also has been awarded a $390,000 grant from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, which will support a two-year study to see if low-level vibration can build bone and muscle strength.

“Children with neuromuscular diseases such as cerebral palsy are known to be at risk of having low bone mass and deficits in muscle function, which can lead to fractures and problems with postural stability,” Wren explained.

Wren’s research also is supported by the United Cerebral Palsy Research and Education Foundation and CHLA’s Department of Surgery.

CHLA researcher receives $1.5 million to study pediatric cerebral palsy

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