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Lack of Predictive Control in Lifting Series of Virtual Objects by Individuals With Diplegic Cerebral Palsy

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3 Author(s)
Mawase, F. ; Dept. of Biomed. Eng., Ben-Gurion Univ. of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel ; Bar-Haim, S. ; Karniel, A.

To date, research on the motor control of hand function in cerebral palsy has focused on children with hemiplegia, although many persons with diplegic cerebral palsy (dCP) have asymmetrically decreased hand function. We explored the predictive capabilities of the motor system in a simple motor task of lifting a series of virtual objects for five persons with spastic dCP and five age-matched controls. When a person lifts an object, s/he uses an expectation of the weight of the object to generate a motor command. We asked the study subjects to lift a series of increasing weights and determined whether they extrapolated from past experience to predict the next weight in the series, even though that weight had never been experienced. Planning of precision grasp was assessed by measurement of the grip force at the beginning of the lifting task and by estimating the motor command. Execution of precision grasp was assessed by measurement of the time interval between the onset of grip and the onset of movement. We found that persons with dCP demonstrated a lack of predictive feed-forward control in their lifting movements: they exhibited a significantly longer time between onset of grip and onset of movement than the control subjects and they did not predict the weight of the next object in the lifting task. In addition, for subjects with dCP, the time between the onset of grip and the onset of movement of the dominant hand correlated strongly with the outcome of a hand function test. We postulate that a higher-order motor planning deficit in addition to execution deficit are evident in the subjects with spastic diplegic.

Published in:

Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:19 ,  Issue: 6 )