Gradual increase of perturbation load induces a longer retention of locomotor adaptation in children with cerebral palsy

Rongnian Tang, Janis Kim, Deborah J Gaebler-Spira, Ming Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

The goal of this study is to determine whether the size and the variability of error have an impact on the retention of locomotor adaptation in children with cerebral palsy (CP). Eleven children with CP, aged 7–16 years old, were recruited to participate in this study. Three types of force perturbations (i.e., abrupt, gradual and noisy loads) were applied to the right leg above the ankle starting from late stance to mid-swing in three test sessions while the subject walked on a treadmill. Spatial-temporal gait parameters were recorded using a custom designed 3D position sensor during treadmill walking. We observed that children with CP adapted to the resistance force perturbation and showed an aftereffect consisting of increased step length after load release. Further, we observed a longer retention of the aftereffect for the condition with a gradual load than that with an abrupt load. Results from this study suggested that the size of error might have an impact on the retention of motor adaptation in children with CP with a longer retention of motor adaptation for the condition with a small size of error than that with a large error. In addition, enhanced variability of error seems facilitate motor learning during treadmill training. Results from this study may be used for the development of force perturbation based training paradigms for improving walking function in children with CP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-33
Number of pages14
JournalHuman Movement Science
Volume63
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2019

Keywords

  • Aftereffect
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Children
  • Error size
  • Locomotion
  • Motor adaptation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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