The aim of the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study was to investigate brain activation associated with active and passive movements, and tactile stimulation in 17 children with right-sided unilateral cerebral palsy (CP), compared to 19 typically developing children (TD). The active movements consisted of repetitive opening and closing of the hand. For passive movements, an MRI-compatible robot moved the finger up and down. Tactile stimulation was provided by manually stroking the dorsal surface of the hand with a sponge cotton cloth. In both groups, contralateral primary sensorimotor cortex activation (SM1) was seen for all tasks, as well as additional contralateral primary somatosensory cortex (S1) activation for passive movements. Ipsilateral cerebellar activity was observed in TD children during all tasks, but only during active movements in CP children. Of interest was additional ipsilateral SM1 recruitment in CP during active movements as well as ipsilateral S1 activation during passive movements and tactile stimulation. Another interesting new finding was the contralateral cerebellum activation in both groups during different tasks, also in cerebellar areas not primarily linked to the sensorimotor network. Active movements elicited significantly more brain activation in CP compared to TD children. In both groups, active movements displayed significantly more brain activation compared to passive movements and tactile stimulation.
- Unilateral cerebral palsy
- Upper limb