Motor-learning based activities may improve functional ability in adults with severe cerebral palsy: A controlled pilot study

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BACKGROUND: Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurodevelopmental disturbance characterized by impaired control of movement. Function often decreases and 15% of adults are classified as severely affected (Gross Motor Function Classification Scale III-V). Little is known about interventions that aim to improve functional abilities in this population.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate a 12-week intervention based on motor learning principles on functional ability in adults with severe CP.

METHODS: 16 adults (36±10 years, GMFCS III-V) were enrolled and divided into an intervention group (Active group) and a standard care group (Control group). Primary outcome measure was Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM-88). Secondary measures were neurological status. The Active group were measured at baseline, after the intervention and at one-month follow-up. The Control group were measured at baseline and after one month.

RESULTS: Analysis showed statistically significant improvement in GMFM-88 for the Active group from baseline to post assessment compared with the Control group (group difference: 5 points, SE 14.5, p = 0.008, CI: 1.2 to 8.7). Improvements were maintained at follow-up. Results from the neurological screening showed no clear tendencies.

CONCLUSIONS: The study provides support that activities based on motor learning principles may improve gross motor function in adults with severe CP.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)273-283
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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© 2021-IOS Press. All rights reserved.

    Research areas

  • cerebral palsy, motor function, Motor learning, neuroplasticity, neurorehabilitation, rehabilitation, training

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