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Innovation project on the influence of nutrition, sleep and physical activity in infants with Cerebral Palsy

To date there is little knowledge about the influence of nutrition, sleep and physical activity on the health of children with Cerebral Palsy (CP). Dutch patient organization BOSK receives many questions from parents of children with CP about sleep, nutrition, pain, epilepsy and other consequences of CP. For this reason, The Center of Excellence for Rehabilitation Medicine Utrecht is starting a three-year innovation project, funded by Innovatiefonds Zorgverzekeraars (Innovation Fund Health insurance companies) in the Netherlands.

Objective
Objective of the study is to investigate how screening for and, if necessary, adjustments in sleep, nutrition and physical activity disturbances contribute to the well-being and functioning of infants with CP.

A joint effort
Different experts in the field join forces, as to date there is no available research on the influence of nutrition, sleep and physical activity on the health of children with CP.

The Center of Excellence for Rehabilitation Medicine Utrecht is the knowledge centre of Hoogstraat Rehabilitation Center Utrecht and the University Medical Centre for Brain in the Netherlands. The project is led by Dr. Olaf Verschuren, Researcher Physical Health. The project group consist of parents, therapists and doctors from Hoogstraat and Wilhelmina Kinderziekenhuis, the academic children’s hospital of the University Medical Center Utrecht. Additionally, professionals from Slaapcentrum Kempenhaeghe and Danone Nutricia Research. Kempenhaeghe is the Dutch expertise centre on epileptology, sleep medicine and neuro cognition.

Innovation project to start
The project will begin bydefining the most suitable ‘measurements set’: what is the best way for parents to keep track of what their child eats, his / her physical activities and quality of sleep for a longer period of time. At the same time, BOSK will launch a website with information from experts that parents can use in case they see their child is experiencing difficulties.

About CP
CP is a physical disability that affects movement and posture and is the most common cause of physical disability in childhood. CP is a life-long condition and is caused by damage to the developing brain. People with CP have poor muscle control, which can be a potential risk for undernourishment as it may hamper a child’s ability to e.g. chew or swallow.