Relation Between Clinical Measures and Fine Manipulative Control in Children with Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy

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The present investigation examines the relation between various clinical measures and the performance of a functional precision grip‐lift task. Fifteen children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy (CP), aged 8 to 14 years, and 15 age‐matched control children grasped and lifted an object whose surface texture was varied while their fingertip forces were recorded. The force coordination was compared with tactile sensibility, grip strength, manual dexterity, and spasticity using correlational and regression analyses. The findings highlight the importance of tactile sensibility in this task. However, the manner in which sensibility was related varied for the sensory adaptation of fingertip forces, the anticipatory scaling of the force increase, and the smooth transitions between the temporal phases comprising the grip‐lift task. The findings also indicate that spasticity affects some measures of the task, but not others, suggesting that the relation between spasticity and motor performance may not be absolute. The results further suggest that the impairments in grasping in children with hemiplegic CP are largely but not exclusively due to disturbed sensory mechanisms which may have direct implications for therapeutic intervention.


This article was originally published in Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, volume 41, issue 9, in 1999. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.1999.tb00661.x

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