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Tel Aviv University researcher uses magic tricks to treat children with locomotor disabilities

April 13, 2017

In the next part of the study, Dr. Green will bridge the worlds of behavioral therapy with science. She plans not only to give a large group of U.K. and Israeli kids intensive magic training to help improve their motor skills, but also to look into their brains to see if there is a neurological effect.

Magic meets magnetic resonance imaging

"We'll be using functional MRIs to see how extensive practice -- using the magic tricks as motivators -- affects centers in the brain. Having information from the MRI can help us see what works, and for how long a treatment regime will need to be carried out to have sustained changes," says Dr. Green. One of the things she will measuring is the "plasticity" of the brain to see if activity of different brain areas changes over time as a result of the exercises.

Movement problems can occur in children with autism, spinal cord injuries, diseases affecting the central nervous system, or cerebral palsy. Some of these conditions can lead to hemiplegia. When Dr. Green retired from the stage following a career as a ballerina for the National Ballet of Canada and the Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet in London, she determined to inspire less fortunate children to gain or regain levels of basic functioning.

Source: American Friends of Tel Aviv University