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Impaired visually guided weight-shifting ability in children with cerebral palsy

Research in Developmental Disabilities
DOI: 10.1016/j.ridd.2014.04.019
  • Weight-Shifting
  • Assessment
  • Active Video Game
  • Cerebral Palsy


Abstract The ability to control voluntary weight shifting is crucial in many functional tasks. To our knowledge, weight shifting ability in response to a visual stimulus has never been evaluated in children with cerebral palsy (CP). The aim of the study was (1) to propose a new method to assess visually guided medio-lateral (M/L) weight shifting ability and (2) to compare weight-shifting ability in children with CP and typically developing (TD) children. Ten children with spastic diplegic CP (Gross Motor Function Classification System level I and II; age 7–12 years) and 10 TD age-matched children were tested. Participants played with the skiing game on the Wii Fit game console. Center of pressure (COP) displacements, trunk and lower-limb movements were recorded during the last virtual slalom. Maximal isometric lower limb strength and postural control during quiet standing were also assessed. Lower-limb muscle strength was reduced in children with CP compared to TD children and postural control during quiet standing was impaired in children with CP. As expected, the skiing game mainly resulted in M/L COP displacements. Children with CP showed lower M/L COP range and velocity as compared to TD children but larger trunk movements. Trunk and lower extremity movements were less in phase in children with CP compared to TD children. Commercially available active video games can be used to assess visually guided weight shifting ability. Children with spastic diplegic CP showed impaired visually guided weight shifting which can be explained by non-optimal coordination of postural movement and reduced muscular strength.

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