Motor impairment factors related to brain injury timing in early hemiparesis, part I: Expression of upper-extremity weakness

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23 Scopus citations


Background. Extensive neuromotor development occurs early in human life, but the time that a brain injury occurs during development has not been rigorously studied when quantifying motor impairments. Objective. This study investigated the impact of timing of brain injury on the magnitude and distribution of weakness in the paretic arm of individuals with childhood-onset hemiparesis. Methods. A total of 24 individuals with hemiparesis were divided into time periods of injury before birth (PRE-natal, n = 8), around the time of birth (PERI-natal, n = 8), or after 6 months of age (POST-natal, n = 8). They, along with 8 typically developing peers, participated in maximal isometric shoulder, elbow, wrist, and finger torque generation tasks using a multiple-degree-of-freedom load cell to quantify torques in 10 directions. A mixed-model ANOVA was used to determine the effect of group and task on a calculated relative weakness ratio between arms. Results. There was a significant effect of both time of injury group (P <.001) and joint torque direction (P <.001) on the relative weakness of the paretic arm. Distal joints were more affected compared with proximal joints, especially in the POST-natal group. Conclusions. The distribution of weakness provides evidence for the relative preservation of ipsilateral corticospinal motor pathways to the paretic limb in those individuals injured earlier, whereas those who sustained later injury may rely more on indirect ipsilateral corticobulbospinal projections during the generation of torques with the paretic arm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-23
Number of pages11
JournalNeurorehabilitation and Neural Repair
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • arm weakness
  • cerebral palsy
  • childhood hemiparesis
  • childhood hemiplegia
  • hemiplegia
  • isometric strength

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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