Mayo Clinic's Rehabilitation Medicine Research Center draws on the strong clinical practice, research and education skills in rehabilitation medicine and surgery.

For example, the long-term goal of one research team is to understand the effects of spasticity and spasticity treatment on muscle properties to improve quality of life for children with cerebral palsy and other diagnoses associated with spasticity. Focus areas include:

  • Noninvasive monitoring techniques. Researchers use a novel, noninvasive ultrasound shear wave elastography technology to quantify and compare passive muscle stiffness in typically developing children with children who have cerebral palsy.
  • Spasticity treatment. The team is working to quantify the effects of botulinum neurotoxin and selective dorsal rhizotomy on passive muscle stiffness in children with cerebral palsy in order to provide evidence-based treatment recommendations.
  • Effects of spasticity on muscle. The team is studying the effects of spasticity on muscle properties in children with cerebral palsy. They focus on measuring muscle stiffness in children with spasticity. Future research goals include defining the effects of spastic cerebral palsy on motor neuron development and correlating this to spasticity, muscle properties and physical function. The long-term goal is to provide earlier diagnosis and develop regenerative rehabilitation strategies to target motor neuron development.
  • Novel noninvasive treatment for idiopathic toe-walking. Researchers are studying the effect of a novel Kinesio taping method on children with idiopathic toe-walking, using gait laboratory and ultrasound elastography measures.

In the Children's Research Center at Mayo Clinic, physicians and scientists from a wide range of fields work together to improve health care for newborns, children and teenagers. The center aims to ensure today's children — whether healthy or ill — become tomorrow's healthy adults.