The effects of Internet-based home training on upper limb function in adults with cerebral palsy.

Research paper by Susan H SH Brown, Colleen A CA Lewis, Joseph M JM McCarthy, Stephen T ST Doyle, Edward A EA Hurvitz

Indexed on: 29 Jun '10Published on: 29 Jun '10Published in: Neurorehabilitation and neural repair


While adults with hemiplegic cerebral palsy (CP) can have significant upper limb dysfunction, the effects of movement-based training has not been investigated.This uncontrolled trial assessed the effects of a home and internet-based upper limb intervention program targeting motor and sensory function.Twelve adults, aged 21 to 57 yrs, GMFCS levels I-III with asymmetric upper limb involvement participated in the Upper Limb Training and Assessment (ULTrA) program. Clinical and functional measures included the Motor Activity Log (MAL), the Nine-Hole Peg test, and grip strength. An upper limb training system consisting of a laptop, webcam, target light board, and hand manipulation/ discrimination devices was installed in each participant's home. Training occurred 40 min/day, 5 days/wk for 8 wks and included both unilateral and bilateral reach movements as well as a series of hand sensorimotor tasks such as card turning, stereognosis, and tactile discrimination. Data generated during each session were transmitted to the laboratory via the Internet.were movement time, interlimb delay time, and performance on hand sensorimotor tasks.Following training, affected limb reach movement time decreased significantly for unilateral and bilateral tasks. Interlimb delay during sequential reaching also decreased. Significant improvement in hand manipulation tasks was also seen. Compliance was excellent and there were no adverse effects.The ULTrA program had beneficial effects for adults with CP and is safe and convenient to use. This system contrasts sharply with programs with similar intent that require participant travel and hours of therapist-based intervention.