Optimization of MRI-based scoring scales of brain injury severity in children with unilateral cerebral palsy
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Background: Several scoring systems for measuring brain injury severity have been developed to standardize the classification of MRI results, which allows for the prediction of functional outcomes to help plan effective interventions for children with cerebral palsy. Objective: The aim of this study is to use statistical techniques to optimize the clinical utility of a recently proposed template-based scoring method by weighting individual anatomical scores of injury, while maintaining its simplicity by retaining only a subset of scored anatomical regions. Materials and methods: Seventy-six children with unilateral cerebral palsy were evaluated in terms of upper limb motor function using the Assisting Hand Assessment measure and injuries visible on MRI using a semiquantitative approach. This cohort included 52 children with periventricular white matter injury and 24 with cortical and deep gray matter injuries. A subset of the template-derived cerebral regions was selected using a data-driven region selection algorithm. Linear regression was performed using this subset, with interaction effects excluded. Results: Linear regression improved multiple correlations between MRI-based and Assisting Hand Assessment scores for both periventricular white matter (R squared increased to 0.45 from 0, P < 0.0001) and cortical and deep gray matter (0.84 from 0.44, P < 0.0001) cohorts. In both cohorts, the data-driven approach retained fewer than 8 of the 40 template-derived anatomical regions. Conclusion: The equal or better prediction of the clinically meaningful Assisting Hand Assessment measure using fewer anatomical regions highlights the potential of these developments to enable enhanced quantification of injury and prediction of patient motor outcome, while maintaining the clinical expediency of the scoring approach.
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