Children with cerebral palsy (CP) have altered tactile, proprioceptive and kinesthetic awareness. These sensory impairments appear to be related to an aberrant organization of the somatosensory cortex. To date, the neuromagnetic responses of somatosensory cortices representing the foot have not been investigated in children with spastic diplegic CP. In this investigation, we used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to evaluate cortical differences in the earliest somatosensory responses elicited by foot stimulation in typically developing children and those with spastic diplegic CP who have a Gross Motor Function Classification Score of III-IV. All participants underwent unilateral tibial nerve stimulation of each foot as whole brain MEG data were acquired. Primary somatosensory cortical responses were modeled using an equivalent current dipole for each foot. The results presented in this study are the first to show that activation of the somatosensory cortices representing the foot in children with spastic diplegic CP is diminished, but not latent.
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