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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 8349242, 8 pages
https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/8349242
Research Article

Effects of Robot-Assisted Training for the Unaffected Arm in Patients with Hemiparetic Cerebral Palsy: A Proof-of-Concept Pilot Study

1Neuromotor and Cognitive Rehabilitation Research Center, Department of Neurosciences, Biomedicine and Movement Sciences, University of Verona, Verona, Italy
2Polyfunctional Center “Don Calabria”, Verona, Italy
3Neurorehabilitation Unit, Department of Neurosciences, Hospital Trust of Verona, Verona, Italy
4Neuroradiology Unit, Department of Neurosciences, Hospital Trust of Verona, Verona, Italy
5Department of Neurology, Hochzirl Hospital, Zirl, Austria
6Research Unit of Neurorehabilitation, Bolzano, South Tyrol, Italy
7Villa Melitta Rehabilitation Clinic, Bolzano, Italy
8Health Sciences Department, Università del Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy
9Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Section, “OORR” Hospital, University of Foggia, Foggia, Italy

Correspondence should be addressed to Alessandro Picelli; ti.rvinu@illecip.ordnassela

Received 9 February 2017; Revised 26 April 2017; Accepted 29 May 2017; Published 6 July 2017

Academic Editor: Jun Yao

Copyright © 2017 Alessandro Picelli et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

On a voluntary basis, 10 adolescents with hemiparesis due to cerebral palsy and 11 neurologically healthy control subjects participated in this proof-of-concept pilot study. The aim was to examine the effects of robot-assisted training for the unaffected arm in patients with hemiparetic cerebral palsy. Baseline comparison between the unaffected arm of the hemiparetic patients with cerebral palsy and the dominant arm of healthy control subjects showed significant differences on the Jebsen-Taylor Hand Function test and action planning ability tests. Within-group comparison after ten 30-minute sessions (five days a week for two consecutive weeks) of robot-assisted training for the unaffected arm showed significant improvements in patients with cerebral palsy on the Jebsen-Taylor Hand Function test (performed at both hands) and action planning ability test (evaluated at the unaffected arm). Our findings are in line with previous evidences of action planning deficits at the unaffected arm in patients with hemiparetic cerebral palsy and support the hypothesis that robot-assisted training for the unaffected arm may be useful to improve manual dexterity and action planning in patients with hemiparesis due to cerebral palsy.