Task-specific body-weight-supported treadmill therapy improves walking performance in children with central gait impairment. Modulation of spinal networks and improvement of muscle energy consumption are thought to contribute to this effect. Robotic-assisted treadmill therapy enabled by a driven gait orthosis (DGO) has been established for adults and shown to provide significant improvements in individuals with spinal cord injury and stroke. Recently a pediatric DGO has been developed. Here, we report the results of a 3-week trial of robotic-assisted treadmill therapy of a 6-year-old boy with bilateral spastic cerebral palsy. The boy tolerated the trial very well and showed improved function, speed, and endurance of walking. Introducing methods of robotic medicine to pediatrics may help children with central gait impairment to regain motor function.
2007 Movement Disorder Society