Deliberately light Interpersonal contact affects the control of head stability during walking in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy

Katrin Hanna Schulleri, Frauke Burfeind, Beate Höß-Zenker, Eva Feketené Szabó, Nadine Herzig, A. Ledebt, Leif Johannsen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the potential of deliberately light interpersonal touch
(IPT) for reducing excessive head and trunk sway during self-paced walking in
children and adolescents with cerebral palsy (CP).
DESIGN: Quasi-experimental, proof-of-concept study with between-groups
comparison.
SETTING: Ambulant care facility, community center.
PARTICIPANTS: 26 individuals with CP (spastic and ataxic; GMFCS I-III; mean=9.8y;
f=11, m=15) and in 39 typically developed (TD) children and adolescents
(mean=10.0y; f=23, m=16).
INTERVENTIONS: ipt applied by a therapist to locations at the back and the head.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: As primary outcomes head and trunk sway during self-paced
walking were assessed by inertial measurement units. Secondary outcomes were
average step length and gait speed.
RESULTS: CP group: apex and occiput IPT reduced head velocity sway compared to
thoracic IPT (both p=0.04) irrespective of individuals' specific clinical
symptoms. TD group: all testing conditions reduced head velocity sway compared to
walking alone (all p≤0.03) as well as in apex and occiput IPT compared to paired
walking (both p≤0.02).
CONCLUSIONS: Deliberately light IPT at the apex of the head alters control of
head sway in children and adolescents with CP. The effect of IPT varies as a
function of contact location and acts differently in TD individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1828-1835
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Volume98
Issue number9
Early online date2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017

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Keywords

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Locomotion
  • Postural Balance
  • Rehabilitation
  • therapeutic touch

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