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Dual-task training of children with neuromotor disorders during robot-assisted gait therapy: prerequisites of patients and influence on leg muscle activity


Ricklin, Sandra; Meyer-Heim, Andreas; van Hedel, Hubertus J A (2018). Dual-task training of children with neuromotor disorders during robot-assisted gait therapy: prerequisites of patients and influence on leg muscle activity. Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation (JNER), 15:82.

Abstract

BACKGROUND Walking in daily life is complex entailing various prerequisites such as leg strength, trunk stability or cognitive and motor dual task (DT) activities. Conventional physiotherapy can be complemented with robot-assisted gait therapy (RAGT) and exergames to enhance the number of step repetitions, feedback, motivation, and additional simultaneously performed tasks besides walking (e.g., dual-task (DT) activities). Although DT gait training leads to improvements in daily ambulation in adult patient groups, no study has evaluated RAGT with a DT exergame in children with neurological gait disorders. Therefore, we investigated children's functional and cognitive prerequisites to walk physiologically during RAGT with a DT exergame and analysed the influence of DT on leg muscle activity. METHODS Children and adolescents (6-18 years) with neurological gait disorders completed RAGT with and without a DT exergame in this quasi-experimental study. We assessed several measures on the body function and activity domains (according to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF)) and determined whether these measures could distinguish well between children who walked physiologically during the DT RAGT or not. We measured leg muscle activity with surface electrodes to identify changes in EMG-amplitudes and -patterns. RESULTS Twenty-one children participated (7 females, 6.5-17.3 years, Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) levels I-IV). Most activity measures distinguished significantly between participants performing the DT exergame physiologically or not with moderate to good sensitivity (0.8 ≤ sensitivity≤1.0) and specificity (0.5 ≤ specificity≤0.9). Body function measures differentiated less well. Despite that the EMG-amplitudes of key stance muscles were significantly lower during DT versus no DT exergaming, the mean activation patterns of all muscles correlated high (ρ > 0.75) between the conditions. CONCLUSION This study is the first that investigated effects of a DT exergame during RAGT in children with neurological gait disorders. Several performance measures could differentiate well between patients who walked with physiological versus compensatory movements while performing the DT exergame. While the DT exergame affected the leg muscle activity amplitudes, it did not largely affect the activity patterns of the muscles.

Abstract

BACKGROUND Walking in daily life is complex entailing various prerequisites such as leg strength, trunk stability or cognitive and motor dual task (DT) activities. Conventional physiotherapy can be complemented with robot-assisted gait therapy (RAGT) and exergames to enhance the number of step repetitions, feedback, motivation, and additional simultaneously performed tasks besides walking (e.g., dual-task (DT) activities). Although DT gait training leads to improvements in daily ambulation in adult patient groups, no study has evaluated RAGT with a DT exergame in children with neurological gait disorders. Therefore, we investigated children's functional and cognitive prerequisites to walk physiologically during RAGT with a DT exergame and analysed the influence of DT on leg muscle activity. METHODS Children and adolescents (6-18 years) with neurological gait disorders completed RAGT with and without a DT exergame in this quasi-experimental study. We assessed several measures on the body function and activity domains (according to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF)) and determined whether these measures could distinguish well between children who walked physiologically during the DT RAGT or not. We measured leg muscle activity with surface electrodes to identify changes in EMG-amplitudes and -patterns. RESULTS Twenty-one children participated (7 females, 6.5-17.3 years, Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) levels I-IV). Most activity measures distinguished significantly between participants performing the DT exergame physiologically or not with moderate to good sensitivity (0.8 ≤ sensitivity≤1.0) and specificity (0.5 ≤ specificity≤0.9). Body function measures differentiated less well. Despite that the EMG-amplitudes of key stance muscles were significantly lower during DT versus no DT exergaming, the mean activation patterns of all muscles correlated high (ρ > 0.75) between the conditions. CONCLUSION This study is the first that investigated effects of a DT exergame during RAGT in children with neurological gait disorders. Several performance measures could differentiate well between patients who walked with physiological versus compensatory movements while performing the DT exergame. While the DT exergame affected the leg muscle activity amplitudes, it did not largely affect the activity patterns of the muscles.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Rehabilitation
Health Sciences > Health Informatics
Language:English
Date:17 September 2018
Deposited On:29 Jan 2019 13:27
Last Modified:11 May 2020 18:34
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1743-0003
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/s12984-018-0426-3
PubMed ID:30223840

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