Cerebral Palsy Research

Kara Mueser is a student at Towson University and a previous summer intern at URS. She came back in Fall of 2017 to study the Effects of Hippotherapy on Postural Control in Children with Cerebral Palsy. Here are some of her findings!

Thank you Kara for your hard work!

Cerebral Palsy (CP) is the most common motor disability in children. Globally, CP affects approximately 1.5 to 4 per 1,000 live births. CP is a congenital disorder of movement, muscle tone, and posture caused by abnormal development of the brain or brain damage to the developing brain that affects muscle control.There is evidence that suggests hippotherapy can reduce exaggerated reflexes and involuntary muscular contractions while visibly improving extremes of muscle tone which consequently improves postural control in children with CP. There is limited evidence-based data on hippotherapy, with motion analysis techniques. Hudl Technique is an app that allows users to video record movement and review it immediately. The Hudl Technique video app proved to be an effective method to document motor patterns. Utilizing Hudl, one can show quantitatively through the change of hip and knee flexion angles and the subsequent spinal alignment from head to pelvis during the sessions if the child has improved locomotion and postural control. Through inter-professional collaboration, occupational therapists and exercise scientists can work to document intervention strategies that are most effective to address motor control issues and contribute to improved functional outcomes for children with CP.

Thank you to the therapists at URS for helping to provide reliable measures to demonstrate that this alternative therapeutic approach can be effective in managing motor control and improving the quality of life in children with CP!