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Res Dev Disabil. 2011 Nov-Dec;32(6):2283-94. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2011.07.038. Epub 2011 Sep 8.

Three-dimensional upper limb movement characteristics in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy and typically developing children.

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Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Tervuursevest 101, 3001 Leuven, Belgium.


The aim of this study was to measure which three-dimensional spatiotemporal and kinematic parameters differentiate upper limb movement characteristics in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy (HCP) from those in typically developing children (TDC), during various clinically relevant tasks. We used a standardized protocol containing three reach tasks (forwards, upwards, and sideways), two reach-to-grasp tasks (with objects requiring different hand orientations), and three gross motor tasks. Spatiotemporal (movement duration, trajectory straightness, maximum velocity, and timing of maximum velocity), as well as kinematic parameters (discrete angles and waveforms of the trunk, scapula, shoulder, elbow and wrist), were compared between 20 children with HCP (age 10.9 ± 2.9 years) and 20 individually age-matched TDC (age 10.9 ± 3.0 years). Kinematic calculations followed the recommendations from the International Society of Biomechanics. Results showed that children with HCP had longer movement durations, less straight hand trajectories, and lower maximum velocities compared to the TDC. Timing of maximum velocity did not differ between both groups. The movement pathology in children with HCP was highlighted by increased trunk movements and reduced shoulder elevation during reaching and reach-to-grasp. We also measured an increased anterior tilting and protraction of the scapula in children with HCP, although differences were not significant for all tasks. Finally, compared to the TDC, children with HCP used less elbow extension and supination and more wrist flexion to execute all tasks. This study reported distinct 3D upper limb movement characteristics in children with HCP and age-matched TDC, establishing the discriminative ability of the measurement procedure. From a clinical perspective, combining spatiotemporal and kinematic parameters may facilitate the identification of the pathological movement patterns seen in children with HCP and thereby add to a well-targeted upper limb treatment planning.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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