Rett Syndrome Test Results and Treatment

Rett syndrome (RS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder of the grey matter of the brain that almost exclusively affects females but has also been found in male patients. Its features include small hands and feet and a deceleration of the rate of head growth. Repetitive stereotyped hand movements, such as wringing and/or repeatedly putting hands into the mouth, are also noted. People with Rett syndrome are prone to gastrointestinal disorders and up to 80% have seizures. They typically have no verbal skills, and about 50% of individuals affected are not ambulatory. Scoliosis, growth failure, and constipation are very common and can be problematic.
A test was conducted recently to investigate the feasibility of an exercise program with treadmill for persons with RS  in order to improve fitness and health.
A daily training program on a treadmill was designed for four females with RS over a period of 2 months with tests performed in three intervals, at  1, 2 and 3,  months apart with intervention taking place between tests 2 and 3. The participants were four girls with RS aged 8.5–11 years  attending the educational facility Beit Issie Shapiro, Raanana, Israel. They all had independent mobility and  typical characteristics of RS stage III. The training took place  on a 1400 model treadmill, capable of very low speeds (0.5 k/h), and which had very long side rails.  Low side rails were adapted to the treadmill in order to fit the height of the children and velcro straps were added to assist in safe hand placement. Pulse was monitored regularly during exercise by an A3 polar pulse belt. Pulse measurements at rest were also conducted. Functional measurement was based on a scale that was especially established for this present study. The scale was a 31-item motor-functioning tool that measured the ability of participants to go up and down stairs and slopes, knee walk and knee stand, duration of walking different paths and to get up to a standing position.
 The study results showed that physical fitness of the children at the end of the training program had improved considerably. Tests showed that general functional abilities had improved considerably. Although all items of the functional ability measure showed an impressive positive change, some of the 31 items on it showed statistically significant improvement (knee walking, going up and down stairs and speed of walking for 25 m.) The Pearson correlation showed high linkage  between change in physical fitness and functional improvement.
The conclusions  reached were that a physical fitness program executed on a daily basis is capable of improving functional ability of children with RS. Nonprofessional personnel can execute such a program under supervision of a qualified physical therapist.
The ARMTUTOR, LEGTUTOR and HANDTUTOR are valuable physical therapy products that provide intensive exercise programs for people with mobility limitations of their limbs. These recently developed devices are comfortable gloves and braces that attach to appropriate limbs and contain sensors connected to sophisticated software. The patient uses his own power to activate challenging games and a physical or occupational therapist monitors and records this movement. A customized exercise plan is then provided to that patient.
The TUTOR system has been incorporated into the physical rehabilitation programs of leading U.S. and European hospitals and clinics. Fully certified by the FDA and CE the TUTORs are available for use by adults as well as children from the age of 5 and up. They can be used in the home through telerehabilitation.
See WWW.MEDITOUCH.CO.IL for further information.

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