Objective: To compare the prefrontal cortex (PFC) activation and task performance during single- and dual-task conditions between typically developing (TD) children and children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy (HCP). Design: A prospective, comparative design. Setting: Research laboratory. Participants: Participants (N=21) included 12 TD children (age, 6.0±1.1y) and 9 children with HCP (age, 7.2±3.1). Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: PFC activation was assessed by measuring the concentration of oxygenated hemoglobin while the children performed a shape-matching task with their more affected arm while sitting on a stable (single task) vs dynamic surface (dual task). The task performance was assessed with the total number of shapes matched, dual-task cost, and reaction time (RT). Results: For both conditions, the children with HCP exhibited greater PFC activation, matched a fewer shapes, and had slower RT than the TD children. These differences were accentuated during the dual-task condition and the dual-task cost was greater. An increase in the PFC activation during the dual-task condition was tightly correlated with a higher dual-task cost in children with HCP (r=0.77, P=.01). Conclusions: Children with HCP appear to have a heightened amount of PFC activity while performing a dual task. The greater cortical activity may be a result of the finite attentional resources that are shared between both the motor as well as cognitive demands of the task. The cognitive-motor interference is likely exacerbated in children with HCP because of the structural and functional brain changes as a result of an insult to the developing brain.
- Cerebral palsy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation