BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:: It has been previously shown that body weight-supported treadmill training (BWSTT) can improve the walking performance of children with cerebral palsy (CP). Potentially, the sensorimotor experience from BWSTT may facilitate reorganization of the brain areas that are involved in the control of the stepping pattern. We explored whether BWSTT has the potential to promote parallel changes in the motor behavior of children with CP and the activity of the somatosensory cortices. METHODS:: Four children with spastic diplegic CP (age = 13.7 ± 2 years; 3 males and 1 female) who had Gross Motor Function Classification Scores that ranged from III to IV participated in this investigation. The body weight-supported treadmill training was performed twice a week for 6 weeks. Magnetoencephalography brain imaging was used to determine whether the amplitudes of the early latency somatosensory cortical responses changed after BWSTT. Motor behavioral outcomes included changes in walking speed, walking endurance, and lower extremity strength. RESULTS:: The neuromagentic source amplitudes were attenuated after BWSTT and were accompanied by faster walking speeds and improved lower extremity strengths. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIOINS:: These preliminary findings suggest that the BWSTT sensorimotor experience may result in neuroeconomical changes that reduce cortical processing demands in children with CP. Furthermore, these neuroplastic changes may be related to the parallel changes in the walking performance and lower extremity strength of children with CP.
- brain imaging
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
- Clinical Neurology