Active Research Projects

Assessing Pain in Cerebral Palsy Patients Using Chemical Biomarkers

While many CP patients are capable of reporting the frequency and intensity of their pain, assessment of pain is challenging among those whose physical or intellectual disabilities make communication difficult. The purpose of this pilot study is to determine if biological chemicals expressed by the body in response to pain can be used a proxy for pain measurement.

Assessing Health-Related Quality of Life After Orthopedic Surgery

Often patients who do not have access to adaptive augmentative communication (AAC) devices rely on a proxy to communicate with providers. The aim of this project is to provide in-office AAC devices for people with CP in order to increase the number of patients able to self-report and provide a platform for communication to those previously unheard.

Women's Health Initiative: "Transforming the Health Care of Women with Cerebral Palsy"

The purpose of this multi-center, national study is to identify barriers to and improve the health care of women with CP with various sites taking the lead on important women’s health issues, such as pregnancy and reproductive health, breast health and mammography, and HPV prevention. The Weinberg Family Cerebral Palsy Center was tasked with investigating the gynecological needs of women with CP, and to identify service barriers that these women face.

The Cerebral Palsy Hip Outcomes Project (CHOP)

This is a multi-center, international study that examines the longitudinal outcomes of hip pathology in children with CP. This five-arm study aims to divide patients into five treatment cohorts based on the treatment decision made by the attending physician. Treatment cohorts range from natural history/watchful waiting to salvage procedures.

Assessment of Trunk Stability and Postural Control in Children with CP

Investigators developed and tested the clinical assessment tool, Trunk Support Trainer (TruST), to assess and enhance seated trunk stability and postural control in children with CP. In conjunction with the assessment, investigators developed and tested a training protocol for improving trunk control in the most severely affected children with cerebral palsy (GMFCS IV-V). Recruitment for this pilot study is ongoing.

Are Antifibrinolytics Effective for Reducing Blood Loss for Patients with Cerebral Palsy Undergoing Hip Surgery?

Patients with cerebral palsy are well-recognized to be at increased risk for perioperative complications such as excessive blood loss, especially in scoliosis surgery. As a result, surgeons have looked into methods of reducing blood loss through different means, such as using antifibrinolytics during surgery. While antifibrinolytics have been studied for CP scoliosis surgeries, no study has yet examined its use for hip surgical procedures. The goal of this retrospective cohort study is to examine the effectiveness of antifibrinolytics in hip surgical procedures for patients with CP.

Creation of a Novel Risk Severity Score to Predict Pediatric Spine Surgical Site Infection in Patients with Cerebral Palsy

CP is one of the most common childhood disabilities, and up to 67% reportedly have comorbid scoliosis. Surgical treatment of scoliosis, especially neuromuscular etiologies like CP, is associated with high levels of complications. In particular, surgical site infections (SSI) lead to significant physical and financial burden on the patient, caregivers, health care system, and society as a whole. The purpose of this study is to develop a risk severity scoring (RSS) system to predict SSI in children with CP undergoing spinal surgery.

On-Line Speech Testing For Children With Cerebral Palsy 

Many children with cerebral palsy (CP) present with reduced speech intelligibility due to the motor speech disorder of dysarthria. Mobility restrictions and geographic distance, as well as a pandemic, are among the major obstacles to conducting speech-intervention research for this population. Online speech-data collection is a possible solution, if it is feasible and if the data collected are valid. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to determine the feasibility and validity of online speech data collection. In this study, the speech of children with dysarthria due to CP will be recorded simultaneously  1) virtually via Zoom online recording and 2) In person via professional audio-recording device sent to the family, as guided by the researcher over Zoom. Completion of the task and comparison of acoustic measures collected from the two recording methods are expected to shed light on whether online speech-data collection is feasible and valid for speech research on children with dysarthria. Such findings could have important implications for making online speech intervention more accessible to the large number of children in need of improved communication locally and internationally. 

Please contact: cpspeech@tc.columbia.edu or (212) 678-8361 to see if your child may qualify. 

Our recruitment criteria:

  • Children ages 4-17 with cerebral palsy and speech that can be difficult to understand
  • Speech needs to be their primary mode of communication
  • Dominant language needs to be English (it's ok if they also speak another language, but English needs to be their primary language)
  • They need to be able to follow short directions (like repeating words and short sentences) 

For more information or questions pertaining to research at the Weinberg Family CP Center, please contact cpresearch@cumc.columbia.edu