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Strength Training for Adolescents with cerebral palsy (STAR)


Project description

Around one in every 400 people has cerebral palsy in the UK. They will experience lifelong problems with movement and coordination, which vary greatly from one child to another. A lot of teenagers with cerebral palsy can walk without any kind of walking aid, however, they tend to walk more slowly than other teenagers and walking takes more effort. Unfortunately walking difficulties often become worse as teenagers become young adults. Also, associated reductions in levels of activity may put people with cerebral palsy at increased risk of getting heart disease and type 2 diabetes at a young age. The aim of this project is to find out whether teenagers with cerebral palsy who perform exercises that strengthen calf muscles find walking easier.

For each participant, the programme will start with a clinical assessment involving muscle strength, muscle and tendon biomechanical properties, motor function and energy measurements in the university’s biomechanics laboratory. This will be followed by regular exercise sessions led by a physiotherapist over 10 weeks. Group exercise sessions take place at NHS sites or in nearby gyms. Teenagers will be reassessed after 10 weeks and again after 22 weeks. If the exercise programme proves beneficial, it could lead to improvements in the physiotherapy that’s offered to teenagers with cerebral palsy and provide them with a programme that they can continue to perform independently in their local gym. In the long run, this work could enable people with cerebral palsy to stay fit and healthy for as long as possible, and improve their general level of wellbeing.

Research Outputs

Noorkoiv M, Lavelle G, Theis N, Korff T, Kilbride C, Baltzopoulos V, Shortland A, Levin W, Ryan JM (2019). Predictors of Walking Efficiency in Children With Cerebral Palsy: Lower-Body Joint Angles, Moments, and Power. Phys Ther. 99(6):711-720.

Ryan JM, Allen E, Gormley J, Hurvitz EA, Peterson MD (2018). The risk, burden, and management of non-communicable diseases in cerebral palsy: a scoping review. Dev Med Child Neurol 60(8):753-764.

Smith KJ, Peterson MD, O'Connell NE, Victor C, Liverani S, Anokye N, Ryan JM (2018). Risk of Depression and Anxiety in Adults With Cerebral Palsy. JAMA Neurol. 2018 Dec 28. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2018.4147. [Epub ahead of print]

Ryan JM, Theis N, Kilbride C, Baltzopoulos V, Waugh C, Shortland A, Lavelle G, Noorkoiv M, Levin W, Korff T (2016). Strength Training for Adolescents with cerebral palsy (STAR): study protocol of a randomised controlled trial to determine the feasibility, acceptability and efficacy of resistance training for adolescents with cerebral palsy. BMJ Open 6(10):e012839.