Brain structure and executive functions in children with cerebral palsy: A systematic review
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This systematic review aimed to establish the current knowledge about brain structure and executive function (EF) in children with cerebral palsy (CP). Five databases were searched (up till July 2012). Six articles met the inclusion criteria, all included structural brain imaging though no functional brain imaging. Study quality was assessed using the STROBE checklist. All articles scored between 58.7% and 70.5% for quality (100% is the maximum score). The included studies all reported poorer performance on EF tasks for children with CP compared to children without CP. For the selected EF measures non-significant effect sizes were found for the CP group compared to a semi-control group (children without cognitive deficits but not included in a control group). This could be due to the small sample sizes, group heterogeneity and lack of comparison of the CP group to typically developing children. The included studies did not consider specific brain areas associated with EF performance. To conclude, there is a paucity of brain imaging studies focused on EF in children with CP, especially of studies that include functional brain imaging. Outcomes of the present studies are difficult to compare as each study included different EF measures and cortical abnormality measures.
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