Fingertip force control during bimanual object lifting in hemiplegic cerebral palsy

Exp Brain Res. 2008 Mar;186(2):191-201. doi: 10.1007/s00221-007-1223-6. Epub 2008 Jan 26.


In the present study we examined unimanual and bimanual fingertip force control during grasping in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy (CP). Participants lifted, transported and released an object with one hand or both hands together in order to examine the effect on fingertip force control for each hand separately and to determine whether any benefit exists for the affected hand when it performed the task concurrently with the less-affected hand. Seven children with hemiplegic CP performed the task while their movement and fingertip force control were measured. In the bimanual conditions, the weight of the instrumented objects was equal or unequal. The durations of the all temporal phases for the less-affected hand were prolonged during bimanual control compared to unimanual control. We observed close synchrony of both hands when the task was performed with both hands, despite large differences in duration between both hands when they performed separately. There was a marginal benefit for two of the five force related variables for the affected hand (grip force at onset of load force, and peak grip force) when it transported the object simultaneously with the less-affected hand. Collectively, these results corroborate earlier findings of reaching studies that showed slowing down of the less-affected hand when it moved together with the affected hand. A new finding that extends these studies is that bimanual tasks may have the potential to facilitate force control of the affected hand. The implications of these findings for recent rehabilitative therapies in children with CP that make use of bimanual training are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cerebral Palsy / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Fingers / physiology*
  • Hand Strength / physiology*
  • Hemiplegia / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Lifting*
  • Male
  • Time Factors