Category Archives for "Cerebral Palsy Treatment"

2 New Robotic Therapy Helps Children with Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a disability that affects an estimated 8,000 babies each year. This neurological condition can have a lifelong impact on the movement and coordination of the body. Due to the nature of this disability and its affect on the brain and muscles, many children who live with cerebral palsy require a wheelchair or walker to move around. Not only is this technology helping kids move in a more normal fashion, but according to researchers it’s also helping kids with cerebral palsy feel more confident.

Little Girl Benefits From Technology

Jenna Culleeney was born with bleeding in her brain, which caused her to be born with the disability, cerebral palsy. At sixteen weeks she reportedly weighed a mere pound and a half. After having surgery to break and re-set her legs, she was still having trouble to walk says her mother, Nannette.
To help Jenna walk the therapists at Shriners’ Hospital for Children strapped her into a robotic machine that has recently been shown to help children with the disability balance and find a way to walk that works for them. The legs of the machine have been specially designed for children’s legs.

Therapy Details

The machine enables children to repeat the same motion on a consistent basis. This helps their muscles become stronger and even increases their endurance. There are currently six centers across the United States that are using this type of robotic therapy for children with the cerebral palsy disability.


2 Hippotherapy Helps Treat the Disabled

Hippotherapy is a unique treatment that can be used to help both children and adults with a variety of physical, emotional, and communication disabilities. This technique uses the movement of the horse to help with neurological function and sensory processing for those with cerebral palsy, autism, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injuries and more. Hippotherapy is a treatment relies heavily on the actual movement of the horse through therapeutic riding.

How Does Hippotherapy Differ from Therapeutic Riding?

So you many be wondering, how does hippotherapy differ from therapeutic riding? Both of these activities rely on a horse’s movement to stimulate physical, mental, and emotional growth. However, each form of therapy is unique.

Therapeutic Riding is typically taught by a NARHA Certified Instructor and is conducted in a group or private setting. This form of therapy is formulated around teaching the riders to control their horse through various activities that help encourage the development of cognitive, physical and social skills. Therapeutic riding is commonly conducted in a group setting and is organized according to age, type of disability and level of riding skill. 


Though hippotherapy is similar to therapeutic, there are some main differences. Hippotherapy is instructed by a licensed speech and language therapist, physical therapist, or occupational therapist. It is important that the therapist who is instructing the session is registered with the American Hippotherapy Association (AHA). He or she should also be a NARHA Certified Instructor. The rider works one-on-one with the therapist, which allows for more personal direction and attention. This way the therapy is also specifically directed at the rider’s individual needs and goals.

To get started with hippotherapy talk with your doctor or a therapist about the options available to you in your community.

For more information on hippotherapy and its benefits, visit


Therapies to Treat Cerebral Palsy

Although no cure for cerebral palsy has been found yet, there are various treatments and different therapies that can help improve the lives of those living with the disability. Two forms of therapy that have been proven to help patients with cerebral palsy are hippotherapy and creating crafts.

Hippotherapy is a specialized treatment that can be beneficial to both children and adults who are living with various physical and emotional disabilities. This type of therapy is also unique in the fact that it can help those with speaking and language disabilities. Hippotherapy uses the way a horse moves while walking to help with neurological function and sensory processing. It can help those living with cerebral palsy, autism, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injuries, psychological disorders and more. Unlike other forms of therapy that use horses, hippotherapy doesn’t teach patients riding skills as part of their treatments. Instead, it is dependent on the actually pelvic movement of the horse as it walks to help an individual. To learn more about hippotherapy, visit

Another form of therapy that is widely used on those with cerebral palsy by therapists is the art of craft making. Those with cerebral palsy can’t always verbalize how they’re feeling or specify what challenges them most in their day to day lives. But through activities like making crafts, physical therapists are able to detect these challenges and work on improving them. When someone is creating something their movements can show a great deal about their neurological and sensory capabilities. It can also give clues about the level of a person’s motor skills. To learn more about this form of therapy and how you can create crafts using recycled materials visit

Both of these therapies can not only help patients living with cerebral palsy, but they can also be beneficial to those living with multiple sclerosis, brain injuries, autism, and a variety of other disabilities and physical and mental illnesses.


5 Promising Treatment for Rare Cerebral Palsy Type

Dystonia-choreoathetosis affects approximately 10 percent of all cerebral palsy patients and it is notoriously difficult to treat. However, a new study by French researchers shows promise for treating this form of cerebral palsy.

Using what is known as bilateral pallidal deep brain stimulation (BP-DBS), researchers were able to improve motor symptoms in 8 out of 13 cerebral palsy patients who participated in the trial. Improvement in motor functioning was based on a movement rating scale and ranged from 21 to 55 percent, with an average of 24.4 percent. The researchers also found that the deep brain stimulation helped to reduce pain.

Deep brain stimulation involves the use of an implantable device that operates similar to a pacemaker. Whereas a pacemaker uses electrical currents to help regulate heartbeat, deep brain stimulation uses electrical impulses to help the brain control movement in the body.

Although the initial results are promising, researchers made sure to point out that the study was small and additional research is necessary – particularly with regard to treating cerebral palsy symptoms in children.


8 Today Show to Feature Story on Robotics for Cerebral Palsy

On Thursday, July 2nd, the Today Show will feature a story on the robotics research being conducted to improve the lives of children and adults with cerebral palsy. For the segment, the show visited the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and the Blythedale Children’s Hospital. The show will specifically focus on how robots can be used to improve cerebral palsy symptoms in the arms and legs.
The Today Show runs from 7 to 11 a.m. ET on NBC, but the segment may be available on the show’s website after it airs.


Honda Introduces Mobility Devices

In April, Honda introduced two walking devices designed to assist people with weakened leg muscles and other mobility challenges. Though the devices are still in the testing phase, they seem to hold promise for individuals whose mobility is impaired by cerebral palsy symptoms.

The Stride Management Assist and the Bodyweight Support Assist are both lightweight, wearable walking devices that rely on computer sensors to obtain information about the user’s stride and pace.

This information is then used by the device to apply “cooperative control” – in other words, to make calculated adjustments so that walking is easier. The second device, however, is also designed to support some of the user’s bodyweight and reduce pressure on the leg joints during physically strenuous activities.

Honda is applying for patents for both devices and is still working to ensure that they are effective in real-world situations.


2 Improving Cerebral Palsy Symptoms with Lokomat Therapy

Intensive locomotion therapy is a relatively new area of research in treating cerebral palsy symptoms in children, and clinical studies involving the Pediatric Lokomat® have so far shown positive results.

What is the Pediatric Lokomat?

The Pediatric Lokomat is essentially a robotic treadmill training device. Unlike manual treadmill training that requires the assistance of a physical therapist, the Pediatric Lokomat uses robotic gait orthoses and harnesses to guide a child through the session. The device monitors the patient’s movements and can be adjusted to meet individual needs.

The Pediatric Lokomat is appropriate for children over the age of four with cerebral palsy and other gait-impaired patients.

Clinical research projects involving the Pediatric Lokomat can be found at various hospitals across the United States. Your child’s medical providers may be able to provide you more information regarding this particular type of therapy.



4 Cerebral Palsy Symptom Eased with Deep Brain Stimulation

Deep brain stimulation appears to ease a common cerebral palsy symptom in young patients, according to a small-scale analysis of patients treated at Cook Children’s Hospital in Texas. The symptom, known as dystonia, is characterized by uncontrollable and sometimes painful muscle contractions.

Deep brain stimulation involves the implantation of a device that sends electrical impulses to certain areas of the brain. The treatment, which has few side effects, has already been shown to have therapeutic benefits for treating dystonia symptoms in adults. However, this new study suggests that young cerebral palsy patients may benefit as well.

“The younger patients do better, probably because the older patients have more fixed orthopedic impairment,” said Dr. Warren A. Marks. He added that most improvement is seen in the arms and that no patient has been able to walk if they were previously unable to.

The study findings are based on the evaluation of seven cerebral palsy patients from age eight to 26 who were followed after the deep brain stimulation for six months to a year. Researchers noted that more extensive studies need to be conducted. They also noted that the results pertain only to treating dystonia and not spasticity, which is another common cerebral palsy symptom.


6 Botox Warning Issued for Treating CP Symptoms in Children

Food and Drug Administration officials are warning about potentially fatal side effects associated with the use of Botox for treating muscle spasticity, particularly in children with this cerebral palsy symptom. Children with spastic cerebral palsy are sometimes treated with Botox, though the drug is not approved in the U.S. for this use.

The FDA said in a statement that some children given Botox for muscle spasticity have experienced symptoms of botulism. In some cases the symptoms have led to hospitalization and even death, according to the FDA.

Botulism symptoms may occur when the toxin spreads from the site of injection and include:

  • Loss of muscle strength
  • Difficulty speaking or hoarseness
  • Vision problems
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Loss of bladder control

The agency is now requiring a bold black box warning on the labels of Botox and related botulinum toxin products. Parents of children with cerebral palsy who have questions or concerns about the risks associated with Botox should discuss this new warning with their physicians.


13 Botox: Cerebral Palsy Treatment for Hip Dislocation?

Botox is sometimes used to reduce muscle spasticity, a rather common cerebral palsy symptom. But research suggests that it may also help reduce the risk of hip dislocation, which is a problem in some children with cerebral palsy.

Traditionally braces have been used to prevent hip dislocation, but one study compared the use of braces to the use of Botox injections in 16 patients between 9 months and 4 years of age. According to the researchers, some of the patients benefitted from the Botox injections. However, the authors add that more extensive studies need to be done.

If your child has cerebral palsy, you may wish to talk to your doctor about the risk of hip dislocation. Each child is unique, so the treatment options for your child will depend on his or her particular circumstances.  


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