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Brain Dev. 2004 Mar;26(2):118-26.

Motor outcome differences between two groups of children with spastic diplegia who received different intensities of early onset physiotherapy followed for 5 years.

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Department of Pediatric Neurology and Rehabilitation at St. Joseph's Hospital for People with Handicaps, 6 Higashikobai-cho, Kitano, Kita-ku, Kyoto, 603-8323, Japan.


The objective of this study is to determine the clinical effectiveness of early onset long-term intensive physiotherapy on motor development in children with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy (CP). The study was a non-randomized cohort study with 62 months (mean) follow-up. The participants were ten infants who were first examined before 3 months of age corrected for prematurity. All had a gestational age of less than 33 weeks and a birth weight of less than 2000 g. Brain magnetic resonance imaging revealed periventricular white matter injury in nine subjects and moderate grade bilateral porencephaly in one. Five completed a full course of training of 52 months (mean), two did not receive therapy, and three received an insufficient course of therapy. The study was conducted at the Regional Center for Children with Disabilities including outpatient clinics and a school for children with special needs. The Vojta Method was used, which is an extensive family oriented physiotherapy program which uses isometric strengthening of muscles with tactile stimulation. Subjects were evaluated for the highest motor developmental level at the outcome evaluation 59 months (mean) after initiation of therapy. Four of the five who completed training could either stand still for 5 s or walk at the time of the outcome evaluation 52 months after the beginning of the therapy program. None of the five subjects with no training or insufficient training could accomplish this task when evaluated 64 months following therapy initiation. This was a statistically significant difference (P = 0.0278). A consistently applied physiotherapy program resulted in better motor outcomes in this group of children at risk for developing spastic diplegic CP.

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