Graduation Date

Summer 8-12-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Medical Sciences Interdepartmental Area

First Advisor

Max J. Kurz, PhD

Second Advisor

Pam May, PhD, ABPP

Third Advisor

Tony W. Wilson, PhD

Fourth Advisor

Elizabeth Heinrichs-Graham, PhD


Cerebral Palsy (CP) is the most common neurodevelopmental motor disability, resulting in life-long sensory, perception and motor impairments. These impairments appear to drastically worsen with advancing age within the CP population, although the underlying neuro-physiological mechanisms remain poorly understood. Herein, we began to address this knowledge gap by utilizing magnetoencephalographic (MEG) to study how aging impacts the amplitude of spontaneous brain activity (i.e., resting state) in a cohort of 38 individuals with spastic diplegic CP (Age = 22.08 ± 10.46 years) and 67 neurotypical controls (NT) (Age = 19.56 ± 10.25 years). Participants completed an eyes-closed resting-state paradigm while undergoing a five-minute MEG recording. The MEG data were then source imaged, and the power within the delta (2–4 Hz), theta (5–7 Hz), alpha (8–12 Hz), beta (15–29 Hz), and gamma (30–59 Hz) frequency bands were computed. Our results indicated that participants with CP had broad band alterations in the strength of spontaneous cortical activity across the frontal, parietal, occipital, and sensorimotor cortical areas (pFWE < 0.05). Furthermore, we found that participants with CP had a significantly altered age-related trajectory of the spontaneous beta activity in the bilateral sensorimotor cortices compared to NT controls (pFWE <0.001). Overall, these results demonstrate that spontaneous neural activity in individuals with CP is not only altered, but also has an abnormal aging trajectory possibly playing a critical role in the aberrant motor actions seen in this patient group.