The research interests of Joline E. Brandenburg, M.D., center on understanding the effects of spasticity and spasticity reduction on muscle in children with neuromuscular disorders such as cerebral palsy. In individuals with spasticity, increased passive muscle stiffness appears to be caused by muscle overuse from chronic spasticity. Dr. Brandenburg's current work involves the use of a novel ultrasound technology to measure muscle properties in children with spasticity. She is also studying the use of this technology to guide treatment by measuring muscle stiffness over the treatment course.
The long-term goal of Dr. Brandenburg's research team is to understand the effects of spasticity and spasticity treatment on muscle properties throughout the lifetime. To this end, she is working toward an animal model to study the effects of brain injury at various critical periods of central nervous system development on muscles, motor neurons, and the function of those neurons and muscles.
- Noninvasive monitoring techniques. Dr. Brandenburg uses a novel, noninvasive shear wave ultrasound elastography technology to quantify and compare passive muscle stiffness in typically developing children and children with cerebral palsy.
- Spasticity treatment. Dr. Brandenburg's research 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. Dr. Brandenburg and her team are studying the effects of spasticity on muscle properties in children. Their current focus is on measuring muscle stiffness in children with spasticity due to cerebral palsy. Their future research goals include describing effects of brain injury during critical periods of development on the evolution of muscle properties.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Brandenburg's research contributes to better management and treatment for children with cerebral palsy throughout their lifetimes. She hopes to utilize a better understanding of the impact of brain injury at critical periods of development on muscle and improved strategies for measuring muscle properties in children with spasticity to individualize timing of spasticity treatment. Her research also contributes to the development of improved techniques for monitoring and understanding the effects of spasticity treatment on muscle. In this way, Dr. Brandenburg works to improve quality of life for children with cerebral palsy and increase regeneration of physical function.
- Member, American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine Research Committee, 2012-present
- G. Keith Stillwell Memorial Award for Outstanding Resident Research, Jayanthi Charitable Foundation, 2008