Postgraduate Profiles

Christian Pitcher

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Thesis: What lies beneath? Image characterisation of skeletal muscle in children with spastic cerebral palsy.

Children with spastic cerebral palsy exhibited altered image muscle composition relative to typically developing peers. The findings presented within this thesis indicate that quantified alterations in skeletal muscle composition in spastic CP most likely result from varying degrees of altered skeletal muscle innervation and/or serial muscle denervation. Hence, quantitative skeletal muscle imaging, namely b-mode ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging, may provide complimentary information regarding the influence of individual factors such as gross motor function, spasticity, and clinical intervention(s) on the growth and development of skeletal muscles in children with spastic CP.

Why my research is important

Undoubtedly, the application of medical imaging for the study of human skeletal muscle will continue to progress. Imaging techniques such as B-mode ultrasound are adopted by clinicians on a daily basis, therefore the development and application of clinically-practicable imaging modalities for longitudinal assessment of skeletal muscle morphology and structure remains vital for building upon the current state of knowledge in this field. This work comprises the first evidence that quantitative muscle imaging might provide complimentary information regarding the influence of spastic hypertonia, and specific treatment modalities, on the growth and development of skeletal muscles in children with spastic cerebral palsy. Although more study is necessary, it is anticipated that the addition of new quantitative imaging measures may assist in the assessment and monitoring of 'skeletal muscle quality' in this special population.

Funding

Aug 2010

Mar 2015