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Report shows CIMT may improve arm use in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy
Date:12/2/2009

ALEXANDRIA, VA Constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) is a potentially effective form of intervention for children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy, but more research is needed, according to a new systematic review published in the November issue of Physical Therapy (PTJ), the scientific journal of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). The review, which analyzed 21 intervention studies and 2 systematic reviews, concluded that further research should focus on the frequency, duration, and type of constraint used to treat the affected limb. Similar gains may be achieved when both arms are used together during therapy, but there have not as yet been sufficient studies that compare these two types of physical therapy. Moreover, the review concluded that there is insufficient research on the impact of CIMT on a developing child's undamaged brain regions and that more investigation is needed.

Hemiplegic cerebral palsy affects one arm and leg on the same side of the body. CIMT forces the use of the affected side, specifically the upper extremity, by gently restraining the unaffected side in a mitt, sling, or cast. The patient then practices moving the affected arm for varying durations of time and intensity. Previous studies showed support for the use of CIMT to improve the frequency of use of the affected arm for children with hemiplegia. In most studies, positive effects were demonstrated 6 to 8 months after intervention.

"Although previous studies reveal a marked increase in function of the affected limb, there is a strong need for more rigorous studies to determine what constitutes an adequate dose of CIMT for pediatric patients with hemiplegia," said physical therapist Linda Fetters, PT, PhD, FAPTA, the holder of the Sykes Family Chair in Pediatric Physical Therapy, Health and Development in the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, and a professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine a
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Contact: Erin Wendel
erinwendel@apta.org
703-706-3397
American Physical Therapy Association
Source:Eurekalert

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