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Anticipatory postural muscle activity associated with bilateral arm flexion while standing in individuals with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy: A pilot study

Neuroscience Letters
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.neulet.2010.05.059
  • Spastic Diplegic Cerebral Palsy
  • Anticipatory Postural Adjustments
  • Arm Movement
  • Electromyography
  • Standing


Abstract Compared to automatic postural responses to external perturbation, little is known about anticipatory postural adjustments in individuals with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy. In this study, we examined whether anticipatory activation of postural muscles would be observed before voluntary arm movement while standing in individuals with spastic diplegia. Seven individuals with spastic diplegia (SDCP group, 12–22 years) and 7 age- and gender-matched individuals without disability (Control group) participated in this study. Participants performed bilateral arm flexion at maximum speed at their own timing while standing, during which electromyographic (EMG) activities of focal and postural muscles were recorded. In both groups, the erector spinae (ES) and medial hamstring (MH) muscles were activated in advance of the anterior deltoid muscle (AD), which is a focal muscle of arm flexion. Although start times of ES and MH with respect to AD were similar in the 2 groups, increases in EMG amplitudes of ES and MH in the anticipatory range from −150 ms to +50 ms, with respect to burst onset of AD, were significantly smaller in the SDCP group than in the Control group. These findings suggest that individuals with spastic diplegia have the ability to anticipate the effects of disturbance of posture and equilibrium caused by arm movement and to activate postural muscles in advance of focal muscles. However, it is likely that the anticipatory increase in postural muscle activity is insufficient in individuals with spastic diplegia.

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