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Life Span Platform

Platform Leaders: Steven Miller & Jan Willem Gorter

A Lifespan Platform will concentrate efforts on both extremes of the childhood lifespan with the establishment of two cohorts; a neonatal cohort of children at high risk to develop CP and a cohort of adolescents with CP transitioning to adulthood.

Origins of CP in the preterm Neonate: infections and brain development

Prematurity is a risk factor for CP. It has been established that white-matter injury (WMI), a characteristic pattern of brain development in preterm infants, is one of the main causes of CP. In addition, advanced MRI techniques have demonstrated that postnatal infections are associated with CP. The study aims to determine if:

  • the severity and context of infection can impact brain development in the preterm neonate;
  • different categories of infections are associated with epigenetic (gene environment interactions) changes in preterm neonates; and;
  • specific epigenetic changes can modify neurodevelopmental outcomes at 18 months of age in preterm neonates with infection.

This study will recruit approximately 40 very preterm-born neonates (24-32 weeks gestation) with postnatal infections from across Ontario. Ultimately, this study hopes to uncover links between postnatal infections, epigenetic changes and adverse brain health, in order to improve outcomes for preterm neonates.

For more information, please contact Emma Duerden

Brain-Behaviour Correlates of Health and Well-being in Adolescents and Young Adults with CP

Research has shown that youth with disabilities have complex journeys. They often have to navigate new environments with limited guidance, feel pressure to be independent, and lack resources and supports for successful transition into adulthood. This study will recruit adolescents and young adults aged 16-30 years from across Ontario to:

  1. investigate the trajectory of physical and mental health for youth with CP;
  2. explore connections between brain and behaviour; and;
  3. determine the impact of impaired health and well-being (particularly the role of chronic stress) on brain function and development.

The study hopes to empower parents, service providers and community members to provide youth with CP with enhanced opportunities for growth and life experiences.

For more information, please contact Sarah Hopmans