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Researchers develop standardised measurement for pediatric facial palsy

ANI | May 10, 2019 02:17 PM
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Washington D.C. [USA], May 10 (ANI): Researchers have come up with an innovative standardised measurement for paediatric facial palsy, which will improve the care of facial palsy patients.

The research was published in the journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.

Each year, more than a million children worldwide are diagnosed with paediatric facial palsy, a condition where there is a weakness of facial muscles on one or both sides of the face.

There are a number of causes, including abnormalities in nerves at birth, trauma to the head or infections. For some children, the condition resolves with time, but others may have permanent facial palsy.

"Facial palsy profoundly impacts many aspects of a child's life, from functional issues like eating and vision to core psychological issues such as social communication, peer relationships and quality of life," said Kathleen Bogart, one of the researchers.

"Using a standard set of measurement tools to track these outcomes after treatments will ensure that clinicians understand patient strengths and challenges while enabling them to verify what treatments are effective," Bogart added.

Historically, there has been a wide range of measurement tools to evaluate treatment plans for patients with the condition, but efforts to create a universal measurement tool have been unsuccessful.

Paediatric facial palsy is notoriously difficult to treat and inconsistent use of outcome measures have hampered understanding of treatment effectiveness.

The result was the standard measurement tool that allows the recording of outcomes following facial palsy treatment, surgical and non-surgical, for paediatric patients.

The measurement tool takes into account a number of factors: facial appearance and movement; oral continence; speech; facial discomfort; vision and ocular symptoms; health-related quality of life; social health; and major complications from interventions. Each factor is assessed using a scientifically validated tool.

The standard measurement tool can be applied to all patients under 18 years of age who present with facial palsy of any duration. The following treatment options can be evaluated using the measurement tool: medical treatment, surgical treatment, eye protection interventions, physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychological therapy, speech therapy and botulinum toxin treatment.

The next step is for the researchers who developed the standard measurement tool to evaluate it and demonstrate it works. Then, they will encourage the adoption of the measurement tool among a wider pool of providers and national regulatory bodies. (ANI)

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