The aim of this study was to understand the impact of training with a hand robotic device on hand paresis and function in a population of children with hemiparesis.
Twelve children with hemiparesis (mean age, 9 [SD, 3.64] years) completed participation in this prospective, experimental, pilot study. Participants underwent clinical assessments at baseline and again 6 weeks later with instructions to not initiate new therapies. After these assessments, participants received 6 weeks of training with a hand robotic device, consisting of 1-hour sessions, 3 times weekly. Assessments were repeated on completion of training.
Results showed significant improvements after training on the Assisting Hand Assessment (mean difference, 2.0 Assisting Hand Assessment units; P = 0.011) and on the upper-extremity component of the Fugl-Meyer scale (raw score mean difference, 4.334; P = 0.001). No significant improvements between pretest and posttest were noted on the Jebsen-Taylor Test of Hand Function, the Quality of Upper Extremity Skills Test, or the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory after intervention. Total active mobility of digits and grip strength also failed to demonstrate significant changes after training.
Participants tolerated training with the hand robotic device, and significant improvements in bimanual hand use, as well as impairment-based scales, were noted. Improvements were carried over into bimanual skills during play.
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Upon completion of this article, the reader should be able to: (1) Understand key components of neuroplasticity; (2) Discuss the benefits of robotic therapy in the recovery of hand function in pediatric patients with hemiplegia; and (3) Appropriately incorporate robotic therapy into the treatment plan of pediatric patients with hemiplegia.
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From the Department of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center (LB, HK); and Teachers College, Columbia University (LB, AMG), New York, New York.
All correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to: Lauri Bishop, PT, DPT, Department of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, 180 Ft Washington Ave, Suite 199, New York, NY 10032.
Financial disclosure statements have been obtained, and no conflicts of interest have been reported by the authors or by any individuals in control of the content of this article.