Assessment of neuromuscular activation of the upper limbs in children with spastic hemiparetic cerebral palsy during a dynamical task

M.G. Feltham, A. Ledebt, F.J. Deconinck, G.J.P. Savelsbergh

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    This study compared the intensity, co-activity and frequency content of the electromyography (EMG) signals recorded bilaterally from six muscles of the upper limbs in children with spastic hemiparetic cerebral palsy (SHCP) and typically developing (TD) children during a bilateral movement. It was found that children with SHCP executed the bimanual circular movement with higher intensities of mean neuromuscular activity in both arms compared to TD children. Furthermore, the movement was performed with longer phases of concentric and eccentric activity in children with SHCP, indicating more co-activation, especially in the more impaired arm. The EMG signals yielded a higher mean power frequency in all the muscles of the more impaired arm and the wrist and elbow flexors of the less impaired arm, which was interpreted as a relatively higher contribution of type II muscle fibres compared to TD children. These observations suggest that in children with SHCP bimanual coordination requires higher neuromuscular activation in the muscles of both arms. Furthermore, SHCP also seems to involve structural changes to the muscle properties, which differ between arms. © 2009.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)448-456
    JournalJournal of Electromyography and Kinesiology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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