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Effect of Mechanical Horse Practice as New Postural Training in Patients With Neurological Disorders: A Pilot Study

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Effect of Mechanical Horse Practice as New Postural Training in Patients With Neurological Disorders: A Pilot Study

Héloïse Baillet et al. Front Psychol.

Abstract

Objective: From a dynamic system approach, this study evaluated the impact of a new training protocol using a mechanical horse on the postural coordination of brain-damaged patients. Methods: Eighteen volunteer brain-damaged patients (i.e., post-stroke or traumatic brain injury) were recruited and randomly divided into an experimental group (horse group; n = 10, conventional therapy associated with horse-riding exercise on the mechanical horse for 30 min, twice a week, for 12 weeks) and a control group (n = 8; conventional therapy without intervention on the mechanical horse). Postural coordination was evaluated during pre- and post-tests through discrete relative phase (DRP) computation: ϕHead-Horse, ϕTrunk-Horse. Results: A significant effect of used training has been showed, F (1, 15) = 16.6 (p < 0.05) for all patients, concerning the trunk/horse coordination. Conclusion: This pilot study results showed the impact of this new training method on the postural coordination of these patients. After 24 sessions, the coordination of the horse group patients differed from that of the control group, showing their ability to adapt to constraints and develop specific modes of postural coordination (trunk/horse antiphase) to optimize their posture.

Keywords: brain-injured patients; constraints; dynamic approach; horse simulator; motor control; posture; rehabilitation.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Example of exercises during training sessions.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Depiction of trunk/horse relative phase (mean ± standard-error) in the pre- and post-tests, for the control (dashed line) and horse (continuous line) groups. *Characterizes significant differences between groups.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Depiction of relative phase (mean ± standard error) of head/horse coordination in the pre- and post-tests, for the control group (dashed line) and the horse group (continuous line). *Represents significant differences.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Mean change (post–pre; ±SE) in trunk/horse coordination for control and horse group. *Represents significant difference between two groups.
Figure 5
Figure 5
Relative phase variability (one point per patient; mean ± standard deviation) of trunk/horse (Top) and head/horse (Bottom) coordination, for the control (Left) and horse (Right) groups during pre-tests (in black) and post-tests (in gray), at each oscillation frequency.

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