A new book edited by Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare orthopedic surgeon, Tom Novacheck, MD, and clinical scientist, Michael Schwartz, PhD, is intended to be a resource for health care providers and scientists to improve the lives of people who have cerebral palsy and mobility challenges.
“We hope this new book is a blueprint for the next five years of research and clinical care to help people who have cerebral palsy,” Novacheck says.
Improving Quality of Life for Individuals with Cerebral Palsy through Treatment of Gait Impairment International Cerebral Palsy Function and Mobility Symposium Clinics in Developmental Medicine is the result of a three day symposium held in December 2019 and made possible through the support of donors to the Gillette Children’s Foundation.
It is a compilation of articles and presentations from some of the world’s leading clinicians and scientists who attended The International Cerebral Palsy Function & Mobility Symposium in Canada.
Novacheck says the book is inspired, in part, by his 23-year relationship working with Michael Schwartz on research studies and treating patients at Gillette’s James R. Gage Center for Gait and Motion Analysis.
The two appreciate having the opportunity to look at issues with both a clinician’s and a scientist’s eyes. “This dyadic relationship has allowed us to make progress that would not be possible if working in isolation,” Novacheck explains.
Gillette operates one of the world’s busiest and most respected clinical gait and motion analysis centers in the world. The center uses advanced technology and provider expertise to measure movement, muscle activity, force production and oxygen consumption. The data that is collected creates a clearer picture of a patient’s challenges and needs. Providers use the data to plan treatments and measure outcomes in children, teens and adults with a variety of conditions.
Gillette’s James R. Gage Center for Gait and Motion Analysis includes a team of specialists who develop an integrated care plan for patients. This team approach to medical care influenced how the symposium was organized. “We wanted to create a conference where we paired leading clinicians with leading researchers,” Novacheck says. “These experts really hadn’t worked with each other before and this conference gave them an opportunity to collaborate.”
The other inspiration for this project came from a conference Novacheck attended 25 years ago. “In the 1990s I had the opportunity to participate in a small group symposium with recognized experts in the field,” he recalls.
The structure of that conference made an impression on Novacheck. “I was impressed by the novel format with formal presentations in the morning and time set aside in the afternoon for attendees to socialize. This helped to build personal relationships with colleagues across the world. In the evenings we would meet again and discuss research and medical information,” Novacheck says.
Novacheck and Schwartz designed their conference using this same format to promote the free interchange of ideas. “When organizing the conference our aim was to have as much diversity as possible,” Novacheck says. “We did have international representation.”
“There wasn’t a single person involved in this conference that Mike and I didn’t know personally,” Novacheck explains. “That means at the start of the conference we hit the ground running and that energy carried through the entire conference. Everyone we invited knew they were going to contribute a chapter to the book. We asked them to work at the margin of what is known and what is not. We wanted each chapter to finish with a set of five year goals for the field.” In the end, because of the relationships and professionalism from the contributors, editing the book was a straightforward process for Novacheck and Schwartz.
The result is a book that provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of research for evaluating and treating people who have cerebral palsy. The book also explores the “unknowns” and poses questions and topics for future research.
Gillette pediatric orthopedic surgeon, Andrew Georgiadis, MD, co-wrote a chapter on “Lever Arm Dysfunction.” Other topics in the book include; exploring the biomedical and engineering needs in orthopedic surgery, outcome measurement, spasticity and dystonia measurement and management, examining motor control, and exploring secondary muscle pathology.
According to Novacheck and Schwartz, the success of the book will only be known in a few years as we see if progress is made toward the goals outlined in the book. “We think this ‘marriage’ between researchers and clinicians is one of the best ways forward for our field,” Novacheck says. “I’m excited to see what the next few years will bring to help patients and families.”
Print copies and a free eBook are available at www.mackeith.co.uk/books.