Stance posture control in select groups of children with cerebral palsy: Deficits in sensory organization and muscular coordination

Summary

This study has focused upon the automatic components of posture and movement in a group of ten cerebral palsy children carefully selected to represent a spectrum of abnormalities relatively pure by clinical standards and ten age-matched normals. Each subject stood unsupported upon a movable platform and within a movable visual surround and was then exposed to external perturbations or was asked to pull with one arm upon a movable handle. In comparing the performance of cerebral palsy children in each clinical category with the age-matched normals and with normal adults assessed in previous studies, the process of maintaining stance was subdivided into two component functions: substrates which determined the onset timing, direction and amplitude of postural actions from somatosensory, vestibular, and visual stimuli were termed “sensory organization”, and those establishing temporal and spatial patterns of muscular contractions appropriate to produce effective movements were termed “muscle coordination”. We found among seven of the ten cerebral palsy children a clear localization of dysfunction within either sensory organization or muscle coordination mechanisms. These results are providing some new insights into the organization of each of these processes as well as suggesting methods for developing a more systematic understanding of the abnormalities of movement control.

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Supported by grants R-320 from the United Cerebral Palsy Research and Education Foundation, by the Foundation for Physical Therapy, and by NIH grant NS-12661

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Nashner, L.M., Shumway-Cook, A. & Marin, O. Stance posture control in select groups of children with cerebral palsy: Deficits in sensory organization and muscular coordination. Exp Brain Res 49, 393–409 (1983). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00238781

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Key words

  • Posture control
  • Muscular coordination
  • Sensory organization
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Sensorimotor development