Category Archives: Treatments and Therapies

Learning with Music can Change Brain Structure

Via: Neuroscience News

Source: University of Edinburgh


Using musical cues to learn a physical task significantly develops an important part of the brain, according to a new study.

People who practiced a basic movement task to music showed increased structural connectivity between the regions of the brain that process sound and control movement.

The findings focus on white matter pathways — the wiring that enables brain cells to communicate with each other.

The study could have positive implications for future research into rehabilitation for patients who have lost some degree of movement control.

Thirty right-handed volunteers were divided into two groups and charged with learning a new task involving sequences of finger movements with the non-dominant, left hand. One group learned the task with musical cues, the other group without music.

After four weeks of practice, both groups of volunteers performed equally well at learning the sequences, researchers at the University of Edinburgh found.

Using MRI scans, it was found that the music group showed a significant increase in structural connectivity in the white matter tract that links auditory and motor regions on the right side of the brain. The non-music group showed no change.

Researchers hope that future study with larger numbers of participants will examine whether music can help with special kinds of motor rehabilitation programmes, such as after a stroke.

The interdisciplinary project brought together researchers from the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Music in Human and Social Development, Clinical Research Imaging Centre, and Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, and from Clinical Neuropsychology, Leiden University, The Netherlands.

The results are published in the journal Brain & Cognition.

Dr Katie Overy, who led the research team said: “The study suggests that music makes a key difference. We have long known that music encourages people to move. This study provides the first experimental evidence that adding musical cues to learning new motor task can lead to changes in white matter structure in the brain.”

A Progressive Running Program for Kids with Cerebral Palsy

Via: The National Library of Medicine

A 12-year-old boy with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy, Gross Motor Function Classification System level II, participated in a 20-week running program. The 6-minute walk test and the 88-item and 66-item versions of the Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM) were administered at baseline and program completion. After completion of the program, the participant exceeded thresholds for minimally clinically important differences on the GMFM-66 total score and GMFM-88 Dimension D and E scores. He improved gait speed and distance walked during the 6-minute walk test.

Participation in a progressive running program is a feasible intervention to promote improvements in walking speed and gross motor function in some adolescents with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy in Gross Motor Function Classification System level II.

Neurodevelopmental Physical Therapy Improves Spasticity, But Not Movement, in Children With CP, Study Reports

By: Stacy Grieve

Via: Cerebral Palsy News Today

cerebral palsy, physical therapyA physical therapy approach known as neurodevelopmental treatment can improve shaking but not movement in children with cerebral palsy, according to a South Korean study.

The study, published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, was titled “Effect of neurodevelopmental treatment-based physical therapy on the change of muscle strength, spasticity, and gross motor function in children with spastic cerebral palsy.”

Children with CP often experience movement-related problems. These include muscle weakness, spasticity, a limited range of motion, and loss of some movement functioning. Spasticity is stiffness or tightening of muscles that leads to involuntary movements.

Physical therapy is often necessary to address movement problems, but researchers have disagreed on the best approach.

Neurodevelopmental treatment, or NDT, is a hands-on approach to improving movement in patients with CP, stroke, or head injury. It involves guiding a patient’s movements. Proponents say it allows a physical therapist to assess and analyze movements while training patients.

South Korean researchers decided to investigate the effects of a year of NDT physical therapy on the muscle strength, spasticity, and movement of children with CP.

The study included 175 children with spastic cerebral palsy, aged 3 to 18. The children had NDT physical therapy 35 minutes a day, two to three times a week, for a year. The research team measured muscle strength, spasticity and movement abilities before and after the therapy.

Researchers used the Gross Motor Functional Classification System (GMFCS) to categorize patients’ movement functioning. Under this system, the higher the category, the worse the patient’s disability.

The majority of patients — 112 — were classified as level III-V. Sixty-three patients were categorized as level I-II.

After a year of the therapy, researchers discovered that only changes in patients’ spasticity were significantly different: It decreased. There were no changes in their muscle strength or movement abilities.

Spasticity differed between the GMFCS levels, researchers added. It decreased more among children classified as GMFCS III-IV than in those classified as I-II. In contrast, muscle strength in children at GMFCS levels I–II improved more than in levels III–V. No significant improvement in movement ability was seen in either group.

“Neurodevelopmental treatment-based physical therapy in children with cerebral palsy seems to be effective in reducing spasticity, but does not improve gross motor function,” the team wrote. “Therefore, other interventional approaches are needed to improve gross motor function [movement ability] in children with cerebral palsy.”


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