Upper Limb Function in Hemiplegic Populations
* Combining Sensorimotor Training with Aerobic Exercise
This study examines the use of aerobic exercise as a means to enhance rehabilitation outcomes in adults with cerebral palsy (CP) or stroke. It also investigates potential underlying mechanisms, specifically brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Current research links aerobic exercise with enhanced fitness, executive function, attention, learning and mood. All of these parameters have the potential to positively influence rehabilitation. We are examining the effectiveness of using aerobic exercise as a precursor to a task specific intervention for the upper limbs such as Upper Limb Training and Assessment Program to improve therapeutic outcomes and relate upper limb performance to variables associated with aerobic exercise: mood, cognitive performance and BDNF levels. This line of research is particularly important in refining rehabilitation options for adults with CP or stroke. * Adults with Cerbral Palsy Upper Limb and Posture Study This study characterizes the differences in quality of upper limb movements relative to posture and dual task condition in adults with cerebral palsy. It further relates changes in upper limb performance under varying conditions to balance. * Sensorimotor Training and Assessment in Individuals with Hemiplegic Pediatric Onset Disability; the ULTrA Program Congenital Brachial Plexus Palsy (CBPP) is an injury to the peripheral brachial nerve plexus caused by traction applied on the spinal nerve roots during delivery. Individuals with CBPP can have impaired upper limb movement due, in part, to muscle weakness. Few studies exist which have examined these deficits from a sensorimotor perspective. This study examines proprioceptive abilities using a position matching task. Increased understanding of this population’s proprioceptive ability will drive the development of new and more effective therapy treatments in the traditional clinical environment or in-home intervention programs for individuals with CBPP.