MRI Predicts Efficacy of Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy in Children With Brain Injury

Maria A. Rocca, Anna C. Turconi, Sandra Strazzer, Martina Absinta, Paola Valsasina, Elena Beretta, Massimiliano Copetti, Monica Cazzagon, Andrea Falini, Massimo Filippi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Using resting state (RS) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), we identified the predictors of clinical improvement following constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) in pediatric patients with chronic hemiplegia.From 14 children with congenital or acquired brain injury and 10 sex- and age-matched healthy controls, brain dual-echo, DTI and RS fMRI sequences were acquired before CIMT. The Quality of Upper Extremities Skills Test and the Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM) were administered at baseline, at the end of CIMT (10 weeks), and after 6 months. Mean diffusivity and fractional anisotropy (FA) were measured in the lesion responsible for the clinical symptomatology, the affected and unaffected corticospinal tract (CST), motor transcallosal fibers, and uncinate fasciculus (as an internal control). Independent component analysis was used to identify the sensorimotor RS network. The ability of baseline MRI variables to predict clinical changes over time was assessed using multivariate linear models. At baseline, patients had increased mean diffusivity in the symptomatic lesion and decreased FA in the symptomatic lesion, affected corticospinal tract, and motor transcallosal fibers. A reduced RS functional connectivity was found in the bilateral cerebellum, left precentral gyrus, and right secondary sensorimotor cortex. At follow up, Quality of Upper Extremities Skills Test and GMFM scales improved significantly. Baseline average lesion FA predicted clinical improvement at week 10, and baseline functional connectivity of the right secondary sensorimotor cortex and cerebellum predicted GMFM improvement at month 6. DTI and RS fMRI offer promising and objective markers to predict clinical outcomes following CIMT in pediatric patients with congenital or acquired hemiplegia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-519
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain injury
  • Constraint-induced movement therapy
  • DTI
  • MRI
  • Resting-state functional connectivity
  • Tractography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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