Shoulder and Hand Displacements during Hitting, Reaching, and Grasping Movements in Hemiparetic Cerebral Palsy

in Motor Control
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In this study, we examined the degree and timing of shoulder displacements during hitting, reaching, and grasping movements performed by young adults with hemiparetic cerebral palsy. The participants performed unimanual and bimanual arm movements towards targets and objects of different sizes. On the basis of the assumption that shoulder displacement due to trunk translation and rotation is a successful, adaptive reaction to reduced joint mobility in the affected arm, the fluency of hand displacements was expected to remain invariant under variations of shoulder displacement as is also the case in healthy participants. The results point in this direction. With respect to the timing of shoulder displacement, prior research suggested that hemiparetic movements can be characterized by inconsistent motion-timing patterns—that is, the timing of shoulder and hand-displacement onsets varied between trials. Therefore, the within-subject variability of the movement-onset asynchrony between hand and ipsilateral shoulder displacement was expected to be larger on the impaired side than on the unimpaired side. This prediction was not confirmed. which challenges these earlier conclusions. Additionally. we also examined the peak-velocity asynchrony of the hand and shoulder. Contrary to the onset asynchrony, the peak asynchrony varied between the hitting and reaching task and between the hitting and grasping task. For the reaching and grasping tasks, there were also significant differences between hands. Again, variability of the (peak-velocity) asynchrony was not significantly increased when comparing the impaired hand with the unimpaired hand. The results suggests that the hemiparetic participants were capable of flexibly recruiting and sequencing the various degrees of freedom of their impaired side required for successful task completion, albeit in different magnitudes and sequenced differently.

The authors are with the Nijmegen Institute for Cognition and Information, PO Box 9104, 6500 HE Nijmegen, The Netherlands. In addition. Dr. Steenbergen is with the Innovation Centre. Werkenrode, Groesbeek. The Netherlands.

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