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, Éva Feketené Szabó, Nadine Herzig, Annick Ledebt, Leif Johannsen (Lead Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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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 date27 Feb 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017

Keywords

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Locomotion
  • Interpersonal touch
  • Body sway

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