Current grant recipients

In the 2018/2019 grand round, Our Grants Program awarded more than $8 million in project grants, career development grants and other grants to researchers across the globe.

Are you a researcher?

Each year we invest millions of dollars in a range of cerebral palsy research projects in Australia and overseas. Find out how our Grants program can help start or progress your project.
Applications for the 2019/2020 grant round open in September 2019.

Ms Anna te Velde

Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Institute

Rotary Career Development Grant CDG00318
AU$51,000.00
Early markers of motor severity, type and topography in cerebral palsy.

The early, accurate diagnosis of CP is now often possible under the age of 6 months, although understanding the type and severity of CP in infants under the age of 2 is less accurate. This grant is to support research program aims to confirm existing and identify new simple, accurate clinical markers in babies and infants with CP or at high risk of CP which predict later motor severity, motor type and topography of CP. These simple markers will be used to understand and predict the classification of CP early to give parents better prognostic information and guidance to which specific early interventions will best target their child’s needs. The project aims to decrease the age at which early classification of severity, type and topography of CP can be accurately predicted. A systematic review and international longitudinal cohort study in infants with CP under 2 years of age will be conducted. A knowledge translation (KT) study will be used to ensure rapid uptake of the project findings by families and medical clinicians.

Dr Hayley Smithers-Sheedy

Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Institute

Career Development Grant CDG01718
AU$135,000.00
Midwives Education Module and 2019 Social Media Campaign – Congenital Cytomegalovirus (cCMV)

This project has two related parts. Firstly the development of a Midwives Education on-line Module, registered as a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Module with the Australian College of Midwives. Secondly building on the success of the 2018 social media campaign we will develop new social media assets with the Dylan and run a one month cCMV social media campaign through ROI.

Dr Simon Paget

The University of Sydney

Career Development Grant CDG03018
AU$63,581.00
The relationship between early life determinants, health service utilisation and hip health in cerebral palsy

The project will focus on a key priority health issue in cerebral palsy, namely hip health and dislocation. It will use and link existing information about children with cerebral palsy in databases such as the NSW/ACT Cerebral Palsy register and clinical and administrative Health databases to help understand what factors influence hip health outcomes in children with cerebral palsy. The project will develop a sophisticated understanding of the factors that influence hip health for children with cerebral palsy, and use this understanding to improve hip health outcomes.

Mr Haifeng Zhao

The University of Sydney

Neurodisability Assist Grant CDG03218
AU$25,000
Wearable alternative, augmented communication (AAC) technology: a novel way for communication for people with complex communication needs

About 1 in 4 of people with cerebral palsy have difficulty speaking. Therefore, it is essential to provide them with the latest and most convenient technology for communication to enable inclusion and better quality of life. This research is focusing on the transformation of accessible communication devices to make them wearable, fast and easy to use.

Dr Cally Tann

Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Institute

Career Development Grant CDG03618
AU$9,755.00
What works for early intervention implementation in diverse low resource settings? Experiences from Bangladesh, India and Uganda

Improved understanding of important implementation factors is crucial to translate early intervention programmes from research settings to programmes at scale. Funds from this award will be used to conduct a symposium at the International Society of Early Intervention conference bringing together implementation science and learning from three Cerebral Palsy Alliance sponsored early intervention projects across three diverse low-resource countries; Bangladesh, India and Uganda.

Ms Tanya Martin

The University of Sydney

Steptember Career Development Grant CDG04318
AU$180,000.00

Opportunities for prevention and early detection of cerebral palsy in Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait children

This project will enable development of a new program of research investigating and reporting Aboriginal outcomes from the CP registers. Aim to commence a focused investigation into why Aboriginal outcomes are so different to non-Aboriginal, and to identify strategies to close this widening gap.

Miss Jerusha Mather

Victoria University

Career Development Grant CDG04818
AU$90,000.00
Using brain stimulation to improve strength and function in individuals with cerebral palsy

Individuals with CP face a decrease in functional ability between 10 and 35 years of age, placing them at increased risk of developing cardiovascular problems. Since functional deficits limit independence and quality of life, interventions that reduce the decline in gross motor function are critical. Though loss of strength has been linked to the functional decline in CP, strength-training programs have not proven highly effective in improving function – but are limited by relatively small strength gains. This study will utilise non-invasive transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to deliver low and constant electrical current over the scalp, to increase the strength of signals sent from the brain to muscles prior to strength training sessions. It is expected that this will lead to faster and larger strength gains following training. This, in turn, will enable us to better examine the impact of strength gains on function, which we expect will improve. The study will also use functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to understand the impact of both tDCS and strength training on brain activity patterns in individuals with CP. This study is expected to influence interventions for young adults with CP, who are currently overlooked in CP research.

Ms Anna te Velde & Dr Tasneem Karim

CSF Global Bangladesh

Project Grant PG01318
AU$100,000.00
Early Detection and Early Natural History of Cerebral Palsy in Bangladesh

Early diagnosis of cerebral palsy (CP) is now often possible under 6 months of age in high income countries (HIC), yet the average age of diagnosis of CP in Bangladesh is 5.2 years. This project will have two related phases following babies with CP or at high risk of developing CP in Bangladesh from birth to two years. Phase I will evaluate the feasibility of using the General Movements Assessment (GMA) for the early diagnosis of CP. In Phase II the neurological and motor development of babies with CP will be mapped over the first two years of life. Data from this study will be combined with a current study tracking the early development of CP in Australia to determine early signs which can help predict the severity, type and distribution of CP in infants.

Dr Kavitha Kothur

The Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network (Randwick and Westmead)

Project Grant PG01418
AU$95,000.00
Epilepsy in Cerebral Palsy: Defining Prevalence, Risk Factors, Quality of Life, and Subgroups of Genetic and Surgically Remediable Epilepsy

Epilepsy is seen in 1/3rd of children with cerebral palsy (CP) and poses substantial economic burden and has been shown to affect cognition, behaviour, motor function, education and quality of life (QOL) [1-12]. The population-based studies investigating the association between predictors of the occurrence of epilepsy and severity of epilepsy are sparse [2,13], [15-18]. There is a paucity of literature on genetic causes of combined CP and epilepsy and surgically treatable epilepsy in CP. This project will investigate these issues systematically using population-based cohort study (NSW CP register & the Children’s Hospital at Westmead) with the aim of establishing a clinical programme in the field of CP and epilepsy to improve health care delivery and outcome.

A/Prof Gulam Khandaker

CSF Global Bangladesh

Steptember Project Grant PG02218
AU$100,000.00
Supporting Ultra Poor People with Rehabilitation and Therapy – a Randomised Controlled Trial among families of children with Cerebral Palsy in rural Bangladesh (SUPPORT CP Trial)

A randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of an integrated microfinance/livelihood and community-based rehabilitation (IMCBR) program for ultra-poor families of children with CP in rural Bangladesh. The team hypothesize that IMCBR will facilitate improved access to capital leading to better income and thus increase the family’s investment in physical health overall. Moreover, community based rehabilitation will provide opportunity for sharing ideas, information, and developing important non‐cognitive skills, such as self-confidence of primary caregivers.

Prof Iona Novak

The University of Sydney

Project Grant PG02318 – funded by The Ainsworth Foundation
AU$761,324
Phase 1 clinical trial assessing safety of neural stem cells for infants with cerebral palsy

Stem cell therapy using neural stem cells (NSCs) offers great promise to lessen the severity of cerebral palsy and potentially cure it. NSCs can generate replacement brain cells or growth factors to direct repair by re-establishing damaged connections that control movement and remyelinating nerve connections. NSCs have Food and Drug Administration (FDA) safety clearance, and trials demonstrate efficacy with improved myelination in other conditions, yet NSCs are untested in infants with cerebral palsy. The team propose a world first Phase 1 clinical trial, testing the safety and feasibility of transplanting NSCs into the brains of 3 month old infants with cerebral palsy, arising from a brain injury secondary to prematurity.

Dr Courtney McDonald

Monash University

Project Grant PG03318
AU$93,645.00

MRI guided-focused ultrasound: a novel delivery system for neural stem cells to repair the injured neonatal brain

Neural stem cells (NSCs) offer great promise as a neuroprotective therapy against a range of neurological conditions, like cerebral palsy. A major challenge of NSC therapy for neurological conditions is getting the cells to the target site, given they don’t “home” following intravenous injection. Current intracerebral-delivery of NSCs is highly invasive and carries significant risks for the patient. The team propose to develop a novel, non-invasive MRI-guided focused ultrasound (MRIgFUS) method for delivery of NSCs to the brain using a neonatal stroke rodent model. MRIgFUS temporarily opens the blood brain barrier (BBB) allowing cells to directly access the brain, overcoming the need for invasive and high-risk brain or spinal administration.

Mr Bishnu Dutta Acharya

Karnali Academy of Health Sciences Nepal

Project Grant PG04718
AU$14,253.00
Nepali translation, Adaption and Psychometric Testing of the Cerebral Palsy Paediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PEDsQL-NCP)

Currently there is no validated quality of life measure available for children with CP in Nepali. Lack of translated quality of life assessment tools means that assessment of quality of life of children with CP is not standardised and often not undertaken. Furthermore, resources are not accessible to remote communities. As such there is no estimate of quality of life of children with CP in Nepal, no way to evaluate the efficacy of services and interventions provided on quality of life and there is no national CP register in Nepal. This project will translate and cross culturally adapt the PEDsQL outcome measure into Nepali and seek to have it adopted as a routine assessment tool by major stakeholders in provision of care for children with CP in Nepal. As a primary quality of life outcome measure it will be invaluable in the assessment and service delivery to children with CP.

Ms Robyn Heesh

The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Project Grant PG04818
AU$35,834.00
Daily Living Transactions; How children and carers work together to complete daily routines when the child has cerebral palsy

A recently completed Masters’ research project resulted in a new, ready for publication, framework called the Child Active Routines (CAR) which describes how children with cerebral palsy (CP) who are non-ambulant and their carers negotiate daily routines. As part of that project, preliminary data describing useful actions that children could contribute to daily routines was gathered. The proposed project will further develop the CAR framework for use in a clinical setting and collect additional data to further explore the actions different children use over broader range of routines.

Prof Iona Novak

The University of Sydney

Project Grant PG05018
AU$55,082.00
International USA Site Expansion for the “GAME” Randomised Controlled Trial

Participant recruitment to “GAME” (Goals-Activities-Motor-Enrichment) is slower than anticipated in Queensland and Victoria. To achieve the sample size, the team wish to open a USA site. The team have partnered with Cincinnati Children’s, because: (a) it’s one of America’s largest children’s hospitals; (b) estimated recruitment is n=50 patients via their established early diagnosis program; and (c) this partnership would strategically authenticate Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation’s vision and footprint in the USA as leading cerebral palsy research agency.

Dr Katherine Benfer

The University of Queensland

Steptember Project Grant PG05318
AU$150,000.00
Peer delivered early intervention for Indigenous Australian infants at high risk of cerebral palsy in Western Australia: an RCT study

LEAP-CP (Learning through Everyday Activities with Parents) tests the effectiveness of a peer-delivered culturally adapted early intervention for 40 Indigenous infants at risk of cerebral palsy in remote and disadvantaged communities in Western Australia. This is a multi-site study, with the first site in North Queensland also funded by the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation in 2017. The intervention includes parent education, goal-directed strategies and learning games, with the parent as the key change agent. The funds will predominately be used for employing local peer trainers and flights to support the team, which would otherwise be isolated by distance.

Prof Helen Liley

The University of Sydney

Project Grant PG06718
AU$100,000.00
PAEAN: Preventing adverse outcomes of neonatal hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy with erythropoietin: A randomised controlled multicentre clinical trial

This application seeks additional support for the Preventing Adverse Outcomes of Neonatal Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy with Erythropoietin: A Phase III Randomised Placebo Controlled Multicentre Australian Trial (the PAEAN study), underway and recruiting well at 25 Australian and NZ sites. The study aims to assess the effect of a new treatment, erythropoeitin (Epo, which shows good potential to reduce deaths and improve neurodevelopmental outcome (including cerebral palsy) in term and near term infants who have hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy.

Dr Mirja Krause

Hudson Institute for Medical Research

Project Grant PG00918
AU$ 78,450.00
Cell-free Regenerative Medicine for Perinatal Brain Injury

This project will determine the efficacy of exosomes, derived from placental cells (amniotic epithelial cells) called amniotic exosomes, in a clinically relevant model of preterm perinatal brain injury. The team recently reported that amniotic exosomes can stimulate the immune system and initiate healing and regeneration processes in preclinical models of adult lung and liver injury and this project will design amniotic exosomes that specifically target vulnerable brain cells (pre-oligodendrocytes) to halt and reverse white matter injury and subsequent astrocytosis and neuronal loss, which has been evident in perinatal brain injury leading to cerebral palsy.

Dr Maya Kohli-Lynch

UCLH Charity

Project Grant PG07518
AU$15,000.00
Screening for developmental delay, and investigating paternal experiences in care of high-risk infants in Uganda

A pilot feasibility RCT of the ABAaNA Early Intervention Programme (EIP) for children with cerebral palsy and their families is currently running in Uganda. The Malawi Development Assessment Tool (MDAT) is used to screen six-month old children at high risk of cerebral palsy for recruitment to the study. CPA funding will be used to conduct follow-up clinics where screen-negative children are reassessed at eighteen months to determine the validity of MDAT in the early identification of neurodevelopmental delay. CPA funding will also be used to collect qualitative data on paternal experiences to improve the EIP’s engagement of fathers.

Ms Yana Wilson

Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Institute

Project Grant PG08018
AU$75,610.00

Using a sibling design approach to investigate genomics of CP and other neurodevelopmental disorders

Genetic studies of neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) are frequently based on classical diagnostic categories such as “cerebral palsy”, “intellectual disability” or “autism”, in families with only one affected individual. Collectively however, these studies have implicated hundreds of genetic variants, that are not necessarily specific to a single condition but to many. No study has evaluated families with multiple affected siblings with discordant NDDs, including cerebral palsy (CP). We have identified 48 families in the South Australian CP Biobank that have two or more affected relatives in their extended family. Twelve have multiple siblings discordant for NDDs. The funds for this project will support the whole genome sequencing of these twelve families.

Dr Traci-Anne Goyen

Western Sydney Local Health District

Steptember Project Grant PG08518
AU$55,343.00
Optimal head position for the first 72 hours of life: Neuroprotection for the preterm infant? A pilot randomised controlled trial

Bleeding in the brain is common in extremely preterm infants (33.9%) and is associated with poor outcome, including cerebral palsy, for up to 30% with brain bleeds. Most brain bleeds occur within the first 24–48 hours of life and protection of the brain during this critical period is essential in preventing brain damage. A problem with regulation of blood flow to the infant’s brain is thought to cause these bleeds. Evidence suggests that careful positioning of the preterm infant’s head in the first 72 hours of life may protect the fragile brain, with the potential to prevent brain bleeds and improve outcome. Clinical practice guidelines recommend centering the baby’s head as a preventative measure for brain bleeds, though with limited supporting evidence. This study aims to determine whether careful positioning of the head will reduce the incidence and severity of bleeding in the brain and likelihood of cerebral palsy.

A/Prof Michael Fahey

Monash University

Steptember Project Grant PG09418
AU$125,000.00
Using Zebra Fish to Model Genetic Causes of Cerebral Palsy

The importance of genomic contributions to cerebral palsy are increasingly recognised. This project takes potential genetic candidates from other funded studies and translates them into a Zebrafish model for functional validation. Funds will develop a program which uses Zebrafish to validate and define the pathogeneses of novel genetic findings in CP. In addition to reagents and animal maintenance, we will fund dedicated students at the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute. Our intention is for this to become a feature of the Institute’s work, thereby bringing new researchers into the CP field.

Prof Alistair McEwan & Prof Raymond Tong

The University of Sydney

Project Grant PG10818
AU$250,000.00

Soft robotics for improved standing and walking in infants with cerebral palsy

There is a priority need for mobility devices for infants under 2 years of age as identified in the 2018 Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation Technology Summit. Such early intervention is likely to enhance neuroplasticity and provide improved mobility throughout life. In this project we will invent the first soft robotic based exoskeleton for standing, walking and play for infants that require mobility assistance with input from stakeholders and families with cerebral palsy. The device, initially focussed on knee activation, will be repeatedly piloted to allow a continuous design process based on user feedback. Our major purpose is to improve the ability of infants to reach their individual family goals, to get up on their feet and stand, shift their weight to step and walk, with or without assistance. In turn this may reduce later therapy and medical requirements and deliver lifelong improved independence, inclusion, health and quality of life.

Dr Courtney McDonald

Monash University

Project Grant PG10918
AU$156,355.00
Targeted stem cell therapy for inflammation-induced preterm brain injury

Preterm birth and in utero inflammation (chorioamnionitis) place babies at high risk of neurodevelopmental deficits. White matter injury is the most common neuropathology in these infants, due to the vulnerability of their developing brain cells (oligodendrocytes). There are no established therapeutic interventions to protect or repair the immature brain after preterm birth. Stem cells, derived from placental tissues at birth, have excellent neuroprotective potential. Emerging evidence from us and others suggest that stem cells, such as umbilical cord blood (UCB) and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), have the capacity to reduce inflammation and improve white matter cell survival and maturation. This project will compare two stem cell types, UCB and umbilical cord tissue derived (UC) MSCs for their anti-inflammatory and/or white matter protective properties in a large animal model of inflammation-induced brain injury. If successful, this project will inform future stem cell clinical trials.

Dr Clare van Eyk & Prof Jozef Gecz

The University of Adelaide

Steptember Project Grant PG11018
AU$140,000.00
Uncovering the contribution of genetic mosaicism to cerebral palsy causation

Using genomics, we have identified likely causative genetic variants in approximately 1/4 of individuals with cerebral palsy (CP). The majority arise anew in the affected child. Several alternative mechanisms could explain the sporadic nature of genetic CP: 1) the variant arose in an egg or sperm of a parent (germ-line mosaic), 2) one parent has a population of cells carrying the variant, including cells outside of the germ cells (gonosomal mosaicism) or 3) the variant arose de novo in the child during embryonic development (somatic mosaicism). Each possibility has different implications for recurrence risk of CP in the family. In this project, we investigate for the first time the contribution of somatic mosaicism to CP, as well as the frequency of mosaicism in parents who themselves may have a neurodevelopmental disability e.g. autism, epilepsy, learning or movement disability caused by mosaicism for the CP mutation their child inherited.

Dr Max Berry

University of Otago, Wellington

Steptember Project Grant PG12218
AU$224,998.00
Born too early, too small or both: improving outcomes for babies vulnerable to cerebral palsy

Preterm birth and Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) are major risk factors for cerebral palsy (CP). Preterm birth is a factor in 35% of all CP cases and IUGR is associated with up to a 30-fold increased CP risk, additionally 38% of IUGR babies are also preterm, further amplifying their risk of health problems.

Development of novel interventions to reduce CP risk requires meticulous research in an appropriate model of human development. Our group encompasses experts in neonatology and biomedical science to ensure that our research addresses an important clinical need using techniques that will be transferable to mainstream clinical practice across the globe, in both resource-rich and -limited settings.

We will assess whether perinatal creatine supplementation improves later neurological and health outcomes. These results will be the basis of clinical studies designed to help prevent the devastating consequences of preterm/IUGR.

Dr Samir Taoudi & Dr Alison Farley

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute

Project Grant PG12418
AU$224,179.00
Exploring a causal relationship between Cerebral Palsy and platelets: defining the aetiology and therapeutic windows of neonatal stroke

Low platelets numbers (thrombocytopenia) affects 30% of children admitted to neonatal intensive care units, and 70% of children with extremely low birth weight. The main complication of this is stroke, which frequently leads to life-long morbidity (including CP).

The link between platelet disorders and CP has been previously suggested in the clinical literature but has suffered from being under investigated. We propose that neonatal stroke arises from low numbers of platelets, and that this could represent a significant causative factor that places an individual at high risk of CP.
Because the severity of stroke is not improved by platelet transfusion, prevention/treatment likely requires intervention prior to birth. Accordingly, there are two critical basic problems we will address to aid the development of more effective treatments to reduce the incidence/severity of CP: (1) Does thrombocytopenia cause neonatal stroke? (2) When is intervention required to prevent/optimally treat stroke?

Dr Bobbi Fleiss

RMIT University

Project Grant PG12518
AU$95,000.00
Delayed start therapy for improving brain health after perinatal brain injury; a proof-of-concept targeting dysfunctional microglia

We aim to improve outcomes for children living with the consequences of perinatal brain by repurposing drugs that are clinically approved, safe and chronically well-tolerated. Our innovation is that we will provide these drugs in a novel way, by delaying when we give them (making treatment applicable to more patients) but giving them at low doses for a long time. Our innovative repurposing is based on data from people with brain injury and robust pre-clinical studies, including our own. Collectively these data show that the brains innate immune cells, the resident housekeepers, gardeners and structural engineers, the microglial cells, have altered behaviour for months and years after perinatal injury. We have identified a cellular processes altered in these microglia that we will normalise with our delayed but long lasting treatment in our mouse model of inflammatory preterm infant brain damage to show we can improve brain structure, learning and memory.

A/Prof Andrea Guzetta

Stella Maris Research Institute

Project Grant PG12718
AU$100,000.00
Understanding the Early Natural History of Cerebral Palsy – A Prospective Italian Cohort Study

Although cerebral palsy (CP) by definition starts in infancy, and early detection efforts are ongoing, it is usually not diagnosed until about 17 months. As a consequence of historically late detection, very little is known about the early natural history of CP. We propose to describe the early natural history of (CP) by surveilling the development of 300 infants with, or at-risk of CP, during the first two years of their life. They will be assessed with non-invasive standardized developmental tests a minimum of 3 and maximum of 6 times at regular intervals from early weeks of life until 24 months. This will be part of a large Australia-lead project and the first comprehensive collection of developmental trajectories in Europe. It will contribute to clinicians’ and therapists’ abilities in accurate prognostication and provision of targeted early interventions, as wells aiding in the early monitoring, prevention of secondary impairment.

Prof Nanbert Zhong

Hunan Provincial Children’s Hospital

Project Grant PG13018
AU$200,000.00
Capacity Building of an International Center of Translational Research for Cerebral Palsy (ICTRCP)

This is an initiative project, for the purpose of “capacity-building,” to fund the groundwork for developing an International Center of Translational Research for Cerebral Palsy (ICTRCP) in Changsha of Hunan province, China. The ICTRCP will have the capacity to (1) develop a regional network, Government-REsearchers-cliniciAns- paTients (GREAT), which will be initiated at Hunan Children’s Hospital and be expanded regionally and nation-wide, as well as to the middle- to lower-income countries; (2) develop a CP cohort, as a model for the CP research communities, with complete clinical data and biobank of CP specimens; (3) conduct translational research to identify (epi)genetic biomarker(s) or genes that associate with CP; and (4) explore a novel strategy providing a research platform to experts, to investigate an innovative approach, including stem cell therapy, for prevention of, and intervention for, CP.

Prof David Walker

RMIT University

Project Grant PG13618
AU$95,000.00
Enabling repair and regeneration after neonatal stroke. Neurodevelopmental disorders program – focus on a regenerative therapy for neonatal stroke

More than 1 in 4000 children suffer a stroke soon after birth. Neonatal stroke is challenging to identify clinically, meaning there is often a long delay to diagnosis, and cerebral palsy (CP)-like outcomes are not uncommon. In a model of neonatal stroke well suited to screen therapies, we will use a novel hydrogel specifically engineered to release molecules and growth factors in a controlled, time-dependent fashion that supports brain regeneration, to test if established neonatal brain injury can be repaired. This biocompatible hydrogel has proven regenerative effects in adult pre-clinical models of focal brain injury. Here, we will establish the combination of treatment molecules that maximises repair and regeneration of the damaged neonatal brain after stroke. There are currently no effective treatments for neonatal stroke, and our hydrogel approach has clear potential to translate to use in the clinic to address this urgent need.

Dr Petra Karlsson

Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Institute

Project Grant PG13918
AU$200,000.00
Eyes on communication: a novel intervention and research approach for children with cerebral palsy using eye-gaze technology

Eye-gaze technology enables people with significant physical disability to access computers for communication, play, learning and environmental control. Eye-gaze technology involves a camera mounted to a computer screen which allows the user to move the cursor on a computer screen with their gaze and activate selected target. Although eye-gaze technology is demonstrating promise in teaching young users communication skills, the research is very much in the early stage with limited evidence-based information to guide clinical decision-making.

This study will bridge the knowledge gap on what to consider when assessing and matching eye-gaze technology with a user and demonstrating when and how eye-gaze technology is best introduced and supported for children with severe cerebral palsy, their family and network. Outcomes from this study will inform intervention for eye-gaze technology, when used for communication and participation in children with cerebral palsy, whilst adopting the second highest ranking study design.

Dr Mark Tracy

The University of Sydney

Project Grant PG14118 – funded by The Ainsworth Foundation
AU$249,058.00
Developing a volume monitoring device to improve resuscitation amongst newborns

Newborn babies often require resuscitation (3-8% across the world). Those requiring extensive resuscitation are either extremely preterm or asphyxiated or both, and are at high risk of developing cerebral palsy, blindness, hearing impairment or global intellectual impairment (8-20%). Many develop several of these permanent brain injury patterns. Inflating the lung at birth is an essential and pivotal part of resuscitation. Inadequate lung inflation due to leak around the mask placed on the baby’s mouth and nose is common. In 30-80% of cases it is unable to be detected by the birth attendant. This project plans to develop a universal, portable low-cost reusable electronic device that will fit any resuscitation device and provide immediate visual feedback to the birth attendant on the exact volume of air delivered to the newborn lungs and whether there is any air leaking from the face mask due to poor positioning.

Dr Fiona Brownfoot

The University of Melbourne

Project Grant PG15218
AU$151,200.00
Developing a novel device to detect fetal distress in labour to prevent cerebral palsy

Birth asphyxia is a leading cause of seizures and cerebral palsy in newborns at term. It occurs due to a lack of blood and oxygen to the baby due to uterine contractions of labour. Currently methods to detect fetal asphyxia are either inaccurate or invasive and can only be performed intermittently. To overcome this we are developing a device to continuously and accurately detect fetal asphyxia, the Continuous Fetal Scalp pH Optode. The generous funds from the Foundation will be used to develop a prototype of our device and validate it in fetal cord blood samples.

Dr Sarah McIntyre, Miss Natasha Garrity & Mrs Isabelle Balde

Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Institute

Project Grant PG16318
AU$18,800.00
Jooay app NSW and ACT implementation

Develop the content for NSW/ACT for the Jooay app. Users will be able to view activity locations, descriptions, accessibility features, timeframes, cost, and reviews of leisure options. Activities are classified by leisure type and can be filtered by distance, rating and disability type. We will employ a young person with cerebral palsy from CP Quest to work 1 day a week on this project.

Dr Stacey Ellery

Monash University

MRFF Grant PG20518
AU$558,628.00
Maternal creatine supplementation to protect babies from asphyxia

The aim of this study is to assess the efficacy of maternal dietary creatine to prevent neurodevelopmental impairments including cerebral palsy following birth asphyxia.

Dr Gulam Khandaker

CSF Global Bangladesh

SMSF Grant PG16917
AU$90,000.00
Bangladesh Cerebral Palsy Register (BCPR): scaling up and sustaining the first population based CP register from a low and middle income country

Continuation of Bangladesh Cerebral Palsy Register (BCPR): scaling up and sustaining the first population based CP register from a low and middle income country.