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Research Presentation Success

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Clayton UTZ
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Professor Cioni’s presentation focussed on the importance of early diagnosis and how the general movment assessment tool can help diagnose CP at an earlier age than previously thought possible.

Prof. Cioni has been in Australia to co-host a series of training sessions for health professionals with Research Institute Fellow Cathy Morgan.

Also presenting at the briefing was Professor Iona Novak, Head of Research, Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Institute to discuss the significance of the new international CP guidelines on the early detection and neurorehabilitation of CP.


Giovanni Cioni, MD Professor of Child Neurology and Psychiatry, University of Pisa, Italy and Scientific Director, IRCCS Fondazione Stella Maris

Despite advances in neuroimaging techniques, early diagnosis of cerebral palsy (CP) remains a challenge. Currently most children are diagnosed between 12 and 18 months. This often means that a vital window of opportnity for therapy and other interventions is lost for these babies.

We know with brain injury (like stroke in adults) the sooner the therapy and treatment can begin, the better the health outcome for the person. Research suggests this is also true for children with CP. The earlier the diagnosis, the earlier the baby can be treated, and the better the outcomes for their future. Many CP interventions have greater benefit if provided to babies as early as possible, whilst their brains are still developing.

The Research Institute of Cerebral Palsy Alliance has been working with Professor Cioni to bring a promising CP diagnostic tool, General Movements, to Australia.

General Movements is a quick, non-invasive and cost effective way to identify CP in very young babies.

Thanks to Professor Cioni, 55 Australian doctors and health professionals have already been trained in General Movements, giving them the skills to diagnose CP in babies as young as 3 months of age. CP Early Diagnosis Clinics have also been established in 8 Australian hospitals, signalling a major change in diagnostic practice for CP in Australia.

By training more clinicians in General Movements, it is hoped that the average age of diagnosis for CP can be further reduced, giving more babies access to early intervention that can provide hope to parents and significantly improve the future health of these babies.

Professor Iona Novak Head of Research, Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Institute PhD MSc (Hons) BAppSc

At the ‘2014 Early Identification and Early Neurorehabilitation in CP’ global summit held in Vienna, 37 global CP experts agreed on the need for development, publication and dissemintation of international clincial guidelines on the early detection and neurorehabilitation of CP.

At a recent CP conference in San Diego, early diagnosis of CP was identified as a high priority.

This represents a phenomenal practice shirt as diagnosing CP earlier means babies will be provided access to treatments earlier. This will give babies with CP the opportunity to achieve better health outcomes and quality of life in the future. Early identification will also enable vital cure studies to be conducted that were previously impossible.

Professor Iona Novak will discuss the signficance of the new international CP guidelines, and how they can bring the best available care to people with CP worldwide.