Nicole Zaino wins the ESMAC Best Paper award

Congratulations to Nicole Zaino for being awarded the ESMAC (European Society of Movement Analysis for Adults and Children) Best Paper Award. Nicole received this award at the 2019 ESMAC conference in Amsterdam, September 23-28, 2019 where she gave her talk: “Spasticity reduction in children with cerebral palsy is not associated with reduced energy during walking.” For more information, visit ESMAC.

Woman in formal attire standing behind a black and purple podium in front of a large presentation screen

ESMAC 2019: Award Finalists

Congratulations to Nicole Zaino and our colleague Mike Schwartz at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare for both being nominated as finalists for the Best Presentation Award at the upcoming ESMAC Conference in Amsterdam. Their abstracts are among the top 16 submissions to the conference and the final award will be determined based upon their presentations.

Logo for the 2019 ESMAC meeting overlaid on a classic Amsterdam scene, bikes lined up on a bridge over a canal with historic buildings in the background.

Nicole will be presenting her research:

Spasticity reduction in children with cerebral palsy is not associated with reduced energy during walking 

Selective dorsal rhizotomy reduces spasticity, but does it also reduce energy consumption during walking? In an analysis of over 300 children with cerebral palsy, Nicole demonstrated that although rhiztomy does reduce spasticity, it does not reduce energy consumption. These results provide further evidence that spasticity is not a main contributor to elevated energy among people with cerebral palsy. You can also learn more about this study from our recent submitted manuscript, available on bioRxiv.

Mike will be presenting his research:

The effects of walking speed and age on energy consumption in children with cerebral palsy and their typically developing peers

We know that walking energy is high among people with cerebral palsy, and that energy varies with speed and age. Using retrospective data of over 300 kids with cerebral palsy and 150 typically-developing peers, Mike used a statistical model to evaluate these speed and age effects. He found that energy decreases until 8-10 years of age for kids with CP, while it remains stable beyond age 5 for typically-developing peers. Kids with CP also have a greater elevation in energy with greater walking speeds. These results are important to help quantify and understand impacts of interventions, like surgery or assistive devices, which are often done during this time period when kids are still growing and developing.

They will both be presenting in the Optimizing Energy Cost session from 11:40-12:30 on Thursday, September 26th.

Best of luck to Nicole & Mike!

Spasticity Research Award Nominations

Nicole Zaino (wearing glasses) poses on campus

Walking takes energy – but for kids with cerebral palsy, walking can be exhausting. The average child with cerebral palsy consumes two times the amount of energy during walking compared to typically-developing peers – that is the equivalent of jogging or climbing stairs!

The reasons for why walking takes so much energy for children with cerebral palsy remains largely unknown. The extra muscle activity caused by spasticity has often been theorized as a large contributing factor. If this was true, we would expect that treatments that reduce spasticity, like selective dorsal rhizotomy, could dramatically reduce energy during walking.

Led by Nicole Zaino, a new PhD student in the lab, and our collaborator Mike Schwartz at Gillette Children’s Specialty we have been investigating this question. By analyzing energy consumption for children with cerebral palsy who underwent rhizotomy and matched peers with cerebral palsy, we were determined that reducing spasticity does not lead to dramatic decreases in energy consumption.

This research has been nominated as a finalist for two awards at the International Society of Biomechanics Conference. This work was selected as one of 5 finalist for the Clinical Biomechanics Award. Nicole will also present as one of the finalists for the David Winter Young Investigator Award. The final awards will be announced at the conference in Calgary the first week of August. Good luck Nicole!

You can learn more about the study and read the preprint on BioRxiv:

Spasticity reduction in children with cerebral palsy is not associated with reduced energy consumption during walking