Best responders after intensive upper-limb training for children with unilateral cerebral palsy

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2011 Apr;92(4):578-84. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2010.12.003.


Objective: To delineate characteristics of best responders in a randomized trial comparing constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) to bimanual training for children with unilateral cerebral palsy.

Design: Secondary analysis of a single-blind matched-pairs randomized comparison trial.

Setting: Community sporting facilities in 2 Australian capital cities.

Participants: Children (n=64; mean age, 10.2±2.7y; 52% boys), matched for age, sex, side of hemiplegia, and upper-limb function, were randomized within pairs to CIMT or bimanual training. Sixty-one children who completed CIMT (n=31) or bimanual training (n=30) were included in this study.

Interventions: Each intervention was delivered in day camps (total 60h over 10d) using a novel circus theme with goal-directed training.

Main outcome measures: Change between baseline, 3, and 26 weeks on the Melbourne Assessment of Unilateral Upper Limb Function (MUUL>7.4%), Assisting Hand Assessment (AHA>4 raw score points), and Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM>2 points) defined best responders.

Results: Poorer baseline hand function predicted a best response for unimanual capacity of the impaired upper limb (MUUL) immediately postintervention; however, at 26 weeks the odds of achieving a favorable outcome were 21 times greater for CIMT than bimanual training. A favorable response for bimanual performance (AHA) was predicted by immediate change in Jebsen-Taylor hand function test scores. Age (older), left-sided hemiplegia, and lower-baseline COPM performance scores significantly predicted favorable individualized outcomes.

Conclusions: Secondary analysis of a randomized trial directly comparing 2 upper-limb training models, found children with poorer hand function benefited most. Favorable outcomes for bimanual performance were associated with gains in movement efficiency and older children with left-sided hemiplegia achieved more favorable gains in perceived occupational performance.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arm / physiopathology*
  • Cerebral Palsy / physiopathology*
  • Cerebral Palsy / rehabilitation*
  • Child
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Disabled Children / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Hemiplegia / physiopathology*
  • Hemiplegia / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Queensland
  • ROC Curve
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Treatment Outcome