Characterization of somatosensory deficits resulting from treatment of pediatric cancer

Lead investigator:
Jessica Holst-Wolf

Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy is an unwanted side effect of treatment and a common health issue affecting patients and survivors of pediatric cancers. Peripheral neuropathy is known to cause impairments in touch and haptic perception as well as proprioception. Currently, there is no gold standard means of measuring these somatosensory impairments. Consequently, the extent of impairment during chemotherapy and recovery after treatment is not well understood. Given that these senses are crucial for typical motor development and for performing activities of daily life, it seems imperative to obtain accurate measures of how chemotherapy affects these senses in cancer patients and survivors. In a collaboration with the Pediatric Oncology Service at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital we are currently employing two novel, simple tests that yield objective measures of sensory function, which will help to better understand the relationship between chemotherapy and sensory impairment.

Measuring haptic curvature perception
Measuring haptic curvature perception
Measuring elbow position sense with a bimanual manipulandum
Measuring elbow position sense with a bimanual manipulandum