Friday, November 02, 2007

Rhythm training may improve gait in cerebral palsy

Another article suggesting a link between interventions that improve mental timing (the brain clock) and rhythmicity (check out "rhythm perception and production" branch at IQ Brain Clock temporal processing EWOK) and important human outcomes---this time, improved gait performance in children with spastic CP. Although different, the essence of the RAS (Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation) training seems to overlap with the essence of syncrhonized metronome tapping (which I have written about, primary in the context of the Interactive Metronome product).

Kwak, E. (2007). Effect of Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation on Gait Performance in Children with Spastic Cerebral Palsy. Journal of Music Therapy, XLIV (3), 2007,198-216.

  • The purpose of this study was to use Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation (RAS) for children with spastic cerebral palsy (CP) in a clinical setting in order to determine its effectiveness in gait training for ambulation. RAS has been shown to improve gait performance in patients with significant gait deficits. All 25 participants (6 to 20 years old) had spastic CP and were ambulatory, but needed to stabilize and gain more coordinated movement. Participants were placed in three groups: the control group, the therapist-guided training (TGT) group, and the self-guided training (SGT) group. The TGT group showed a statistically significant difference in stride length, velocity, and symmetry. The analysis of the results in SGT group suggests that the self-guided training might not be as effective as therapist-guided depending on motivation level. The results of this study support three conclusions: (a) RAS does influence gait performance of people with CP; (b) individual characteristics, such as cognitive functioning, support of parents, and physical ability play an important role in designing a training application, the effectiveness of RAS, and expected benefits from the training; and (c) velocity and stride length can be improved by enhancing balance, trajectory, and kinematic stability without increasing cadence.

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