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Bimanual coordination during a physically coupled task in unilateral spastic cerebral palsy children

By Sharah A. Mutalib, Michael Mace and Etienne Burdet


Abstract Background Single object bimanual manipulation, or physically-coupled bimanual tasks, are ubiquitous in daily lives. However, the predominant focus of previous studies has been on uncoupled bimanual actions, where the two hands act independently to manipulate two disconnected objects. In this paper, we explore interlimb coordination among children with unilateral spastic cerebral palsy (USCP), by investigating upper limb motor control during a single object bimanual lifting task. Methods 15 children with USCP and 17 typically developing (TD) children performed a simple single-object bimanual lifting task. The object was an instrumented cube that can record the contact force on each of its faces alongside estimating its trajectory during a prescribed two-handed lifting motion. The subject’s performance was measured in terms of the duration of individual phases, linearity and monotonicity of the grasp-to-load force synergy, interlimb force asymmetry, and movement smoothness. Results Similar to their TD counterparts, USCP subjects were able to produce a linear grasp-to-load force synergy. However, they demonstrated difficulties in producing monotonic forces and generating smooth movements. No impairment of anticipatory control was observed within the USCP subjects. However, our analysis showed that the USCP subjects shifted the weight of the cube onto their more-abled side, potentially to minimise the load on the impaired side, which suggests a developed strategy of compensating for inter-limb asymmetries, such as muscle strength. Conclusion Bimanual interaction with a single mutual object has the potential to facilitate anticipation and sequencing of force control in USCP children unlike previous studies which showed deficits during uncoupled bimanual actions. We suggest that this difference could be partly due to the provision of adequate cutaneous and kinaesthetic information gathered from the dynamic exchange of forces between the two hands, mediated through the physical coupling

Topics: Bimanual coordination, Physical coupling, Unilateral spastic, Cerebral palsy, Rehabilitation, Neurosciences. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry, RC321-571
Publisher: BMC
Year: 2019
DOI identifier: 10.1186/s12984-018-0454-z
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