Goal: To determine the efficacy of wearable adaptive resistance training for rapidly improving walking ability in children with cerebral palsy (CP). Methods: Six children with spastic CP (five males, one female; mean age 14y 11mo; three hemiplegic, three diplegic; Gross Motor Function Classification System [GMFCS] levels I and II) underwent ten, 20-minute training sessions over four weeks with a wearable adaptive resistance device. Strength, speed, walking efficiency, timed up and go (TUG), and six-minute walk test (6MWT) were used to measure training outcomes. Results: Participants showed increased average plantar flexor strength (17 × 8%, p = 0.02), increased preferred walking speed on the treadmill (39 × 25%, p = 0.04), improved metabolic cost of transport (33 × 9%, p = 0.03), and enhanced performance on the timed up and go (11 × 9%, p = 0.04) and six-minute walk test (13 × 9%, p = 0.04). Conclusions: The observed increase in preferred walking speed, reduction in metabolic cost of transport, and improved performance on clinical tests of mobility highlights the potentially transformative nature of this novel therapy; the rate at which this intervention elicited improved function was 3 × 6 times greater than what has been reported previously.
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