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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2009 December;45(4):493-500


language: English

A modified constraint-induced movement therapy (CIT) program improves paretic arm use and function in children with cerebral palsy

Smania N. 1, Aglioti S. M. 2, 3, Cosentino A. 4, Camin M. 1, Gandolfi M. 1, Tinazzi M. 1, Fiaschi A. 1, 5, Faccioli S. 4

1 Department of Neurological and Vision Sciences, Neurorehabilitation Section, University of Verona, Verona, Italy; 2 Department of Psychology, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Rome, Italy; 3 Fondazione Santa Lucia, IRCCS Rome, Italy; 4 “C. Santi” Rehabilitation Centre, Verona, Italy; 5 IRCCS S. Camillo, Venice, Italy


AIM: Constraint-induced movement therapy (CIT) is a rehabilitation intervention put forward by Taub and colleagues for sensorimotor disorders in children with hemiparesis, consisting of the restraint of the unaffected arm and concurrent intensive training of the affected arm for six hours/day for two weeks. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a modified CIT program (mCIT) characterized by restraining the unaffected hand with a cotton mitten during daily activities and a reduced intensity training program for two h/week for five weeks.
METHODS: Ten children (age: 1-9 years) with hemiparetic cerebral palsy were enrolled in a randomized, cross-over study in which the effects of a mCIT and a conventional physiotherapy program were compared. The amount of use and the functional performance of the affected arm were evaluated by means of two specifically devised tests (Use and Function Test). A further test evaluated functional performance during bimanual tasks. These measures showed a good inter-rater and inter-session reliability. All tests were administered before, at the end and four weeks after treatment.
RESULTS: Significant differences between the two therapeutic approaches were evidenced in both affected arm use (P=0.008) and function (P=0.018). These improvements maintained at the follow-up (Use Test P=0.07; paretic arm function P=0.012). Bimanual function performance showed a trend towards improvement in both post-treatment and follow-up testing. The conventional physiotherapy group did not show any improvement in any outcome measure.
CONCLUSIONS: The mCIT program proposed in the present study showed to be a promising rehabilitative procedure in children with congenital arm paresis after cerebral palsy.

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