Treating Pediatric Movement Disorders

A child’s brain has a remarkable ability for reorganization. In other words  even after a significant injury, uninjured parts of the brain can take over some or all of the function of the damaged parts.  Neurons do not generally re-grow and therefore “plasticity” or reorganization   is probably the major mechanism by which children improve or recover after a brain injury.  It is likely that plasticity plays an important role in maximizing the child’s abilities even in progressive or degenerative diseases.

It is likely that plasticity mechanisms are significantly enhanced by appropriate exercise, although there is not yet conclusive evidence about that. Therefore schooling, physical therapy and occupational therapy are important not only to improve strength and teach skills, but  to help the brain relearn and adapt to its injury as well. This may be particularly true with movement disorders, since a child can be able to learn alternative strategies for movement that utilize use of residual neurological and musculoskeletal function. At  a minimum, by maintaining joint mobility and preventing muscle contracture, occupational and physical  therapy preserve the ability for a child to  use these muscles and joints in the future.

Evidence from research in  humans and animals shows that the brain can adapt rapidly (even over a period of a few weeks) to changes in the use of  limbs. In regards to childhood movement disorders common physical and occupational therapy aims at intensive exercise practice to train the appropriate use of  limbs as soon as possible after the event. Thus intensive early and customized manual therapy will have long-term benefits and improve functional movement ability outcome.  In addition early intensive training will postpone or prevent future worsening of symptoms.

When deciding how to administer the most efficient method of therapy it is important to use the physical therapy solution that can be customized to the patients movement ability even if this movement ability is badly impaired after the event. The TUTOR physical therapy products have now been used successfully in leading U.S. and European rehabilitation hospitals and clinics to administer intensive exercises to both adults and children who have limb movement disorders in both the acute and chronic phase post event. The HANDTUTOR, ARMTUTOR, LEGTUTOR and 3DTUTOR consist of ergonomically designed gloves and braces with sensors connected to sophisticated and challenging software that allow the patient to practice isolated and/or interjoint coordination exercises. The system then provides the therapist with the patient’s motor, sensory and cognitive progress.  Subsequently a customized exercise program is formulated for that patient.

Fully certified by the FDA and CE the TUTORs are also available in the patient’s home through telerehabilitation.

See WWW.MEDITOUCH.CO.IL for further information.

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