Pediatric Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy: A Promising Intervention for Childhood Hemiparesis

Pediatrics and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.
Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation (Impact Factor: 1.45). 09/2009; 16(5):339-45. DOI: 10.1310/tsr1605-339
Source: PubMed


Experimental and clinical evidence is accumulating that supports the assertion that the damaged human brain is capable of responding to sensory stimulation in a sufficient manner to result in sustainable and useful benefits. The intensity and duration of therapeutic maneuvers that elicit improvement are under active investigation. Recent studies in animals, adults, and children with hemiparesis have shown that constraint of the less involved upper limb coupled with a behavioral program that repetitively encourages graded unilateral movements can result in long-term "new" functional activities. Constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) is a promising approach for treatment of children with stroke-related hemiparesis from either prenatal or postnatal causes due to the enhanced neuroplasticity of the brain during early life.

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    ABSTRACT: The aims of this study are to quantify the movement limitation of upper limbs in hemiplegic children with traumatic brain injury (TBI) by using a clinical-functional scale and upper limb kinematics and to evaluate the effectiveness of constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) on upper limbs. Pre-post study. Clinical rehabilitation research laboratory. Ten children with TBI. The participants were evaluated by clinical examinations (Gross Motor Function Measure, Besta scale, Quality of Upper Extremities Skills Test, and Manual Ability Classification System) and 3D kinematic movement analysis of the upper limb before the CIMT program (pretest: 0.7 years after the injury) and at the end of the program (posttest: 10 weeks later). After the CIMT, most of the clinical measures improved significantly. Some significant improvements were present in terms of kinematics, in particular, in the movement duration and the velocity of movement execution of both tasks; the index of curvature and the average jerk improved, respectively, during reaching and hand-to-mouth task, while the adjusting sway parameter decreased during the 2 movements. Significant improvements were found in upper limb joint excursion after the rehabilitative programme too. Our results suggest that the CIMT program can improve movement efficiency and upper limb function in children after TBI. The integration of the clinical outcomes and upper limb kinematics revealed to be crucial in detecting the effects of the CIMT programme.
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To systematically examine the research literature on the effectiveness of constraint-induced movement therapy on improving arm function in children with cerebral palsy, and to assess the association between the study effect size and the characteristics of the patients and intervention protocol. Data sources: A systematic literature search was conducted in PubMed, PsycINFO, Cochrane, CINAHL, Web of Science, and TRIP Database up to May 2014. Review methods: Studies employing randomized controlled trial design, children with cerebral palsy, comparing constraint-induced movement therapy with another intervention with a focus on arm function, and upper-extremity measures were included in this review. Methodological quality was evaluated using the Physiotherapy Evidence-based Database (PEDro) scale. Results: The literature search resulted in 27 randomized controlled trial studies with good methodological quality that compared constraint-induced movement therapy with other intervention therapy. Overall, constraint-induced movement therapy provided a medium beneficial effect (d = 0.546; p < 0.001) when compared with conventional therapy. For the subgroup analyses, presence of a dose-equivalent comparison group, intervention location, and time of follow-up were significant factors. Studies examining constraint-induced movement therapy effect without a dose-equivalent comparison group showed a large effect in children with cerebral palsy, but studies with a dose-equivalent group only showed a small effect. Children who received home-based constraint-induced movement therapy had a better improvement in arm function than those who received constraint-induced movement therapy elsewhere. Conclusion: The research literature supports constraint-induced movement therapy as an effective intervention to improve arm function in children with cerebral palsy.
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