Physical Therapy After Pediatric Stroke

Effects of rehabilitation on walking ability and brain pathways after pediatric stroke

Led by principal investigator Laura Prosser, PT, PhD, research scientist in the Center for Rehabilitation at CHOP, specialists from the Division of Neurology and the Pediatric Stroke Program are studying the effects of different types of physical therapy in children and adolescents who have had a stroke and suffer from hemiplegia, or difficulty moving one side of the body.

Hemiplegia causes difficulties with walking and balance. It is typically treated with the goal of improving walking function and symmetry. Traditional physical therapy includes walking practice, muscle strengthening and balance training. New split-belt treadmill technology is now available to train each leg differently during therapy. This pilot study aims to learn if there are any advantages of this asymmetrical training over traditional physical therapy, and if either type of physical therapy strengthens the signals from the injured part of the brain to the muscles.

Dr. Prosser’s research team, which includes neurologists Rebecca N. Ichord, MD, Director of the Pediatric Stroke Program, and Sudha Kilaru Kessler, MD, Director of the Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Lab, is focused on optimizing neurorehabilitation treatments and learning how rehabilitation can induce helpful brain changes in children with stroke and other neurologic injury.

For more information about study details and criteria, please contact Laura Prosser, principal investigator, at 215-590-2495 or prosserl@email.chop.edu. Additional information can be found using the Clinical Research Finder.

Reviewed on April 30, 2014