Thanks to the Ontario Brain Institute, CP-NET is funding studies to measure proprioceptive function (figuring out where the body part is in space) in children with hemiplegic CP, when compared with typically developing children (5 to 18 years of age). The project uses the KINARM Exoskeleton Robot with child-size arm troughs to fit children comfortably. The measurement of proprioceptive function is an important clinical objective for the evaluation and treatment of children with hemiplegic CP.
Dr. Adam Kirton of Alberta Children’s Hospital has been studying proprioceptive deficits in children with CP for a number of years (Kuzcynski, et al, 2016) and has released this video report on his work.
Dr. Paul van Donkelaar’s clinically oriented research is focusing on the sensorimotor, cognitive, and attentional deficits following concussion. His KINARM End-Point Lab, Adjustable Height Configuration, allows him to create behavioral experiments to address these issues and examine how the resulting deficits are related to changes in the underlying physiology and microstructural integrity in the brain. His study protocol includes children as young as 4 years old. Several publications are now arising from his lab including this master’s thesis measuring impact on postural control of multiple concussions by Dierijck, Jillian Katrina: https://open.library.ubc.ca/cIRcle/collections/ubctheses/24/items/1.0356397.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Williams L, Jackson C.P., Choe N., Pelland L., Scott S.H., Reynolds J.N. (2014) Sensory-Motor Deficits in Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Assessed Using a Robotic Virtual Reality Platform. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 38(1):116-25
First publication on use of Visual Guided Reaching task and Arm Position matching task in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome study group aged between 5 and 18 years old. The children with FASD were found to be significantly impaired on most of the parameters measured, than typically developing children. The study indicated that that KINARM robotic technology is a sensitive and powerful tool that provides increased specificity regarding the type of motor problems exhibited by children with FASD. The high frequency of motor deficits in children with FASD suggests that interventions aimed at stimulating and/or improving motor development should routinely be considered for this population.
Kennedy Kreiger Institute, Johns Hopkins University
Citation: Fuentes, C.T., Mostofsky, S.H., Bastian, A.J. (2011) No Proprioceptive Deficits in Autism Despite Movement and Execution Impairments. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 41:1352-1361
First publication with autistic study group (12-16 years of age). Authors developed three custom tasks to assess proprioception in adolescents who had motor and sensory perceptual abnormalities, and compared them to age- and IQ-matched controls. Interestingly, results showed no group differences in proprioceptive accuracy or precision during active or passive tasks.