A randomized trial evaluating the effectiveness of the Lokomat (robotics intervention) for enhancement of walking skills, functional abilities and participation in children with cerebral palsy.

Lokomat intervention study


Summary

The Lokomat is a new robotic treadmill that was built to help people who have neurologic conditions walk better. Early research with children with cerebral palsy shows that it may help to improve their walking skills. However, the Lokomat has never been compared to usual physiotherapy that focuses on walking abilities and functional skills in children with CP.

The main goal of the study is to determine if ambulatory children with CP improve their walking ability and gait-related gross motor skills following 16 sessions of intensive gait training program using a robotic locomotion therapy. This is being compared to an equivalent time period program of functional walking-based physiotherapy.  One additional part of the study is an interview component with some of the parents and children in the study that is focused on learning about their experiences and expectations with the Lokomat.


Researcher(s)

Barbara Gibson, PhD, MSc, BMR(PT)Darcy Fehlings, MDVirginia Wright, PhD

Who can participate

Children aged 5 to 12 years and have a confirmed diagnosis of cerebral palsy may participate. Additionally, they must be at least 86cm (2 feet, 10 inches) tall, as per the Lokomat fitting requirement. Lastly, children must be able to understand spoken English.

What's Involved

Each participant in the study will receive 8 to 10 weeks of research therapy in the Lokomat, and  8 to 10 weeks of functional walking-based physiotherapy.  The sessions will each be 30 minutes long and will be given twice each week. Whether the Lokomat therapy or physiotherapy is done first is detemrined by  process like a flip of a coin. There will be a break of 6 weeks between the Lokomat and physiotherapy programs. Each participant is also required to complete 4 assessments at different time points in the study (before and after both treatments). These assessments may take up to 4 hours to complete.


Deadline

Last enrolment expected to be January 2015


Interested in participating

If you are interested in participating in this study or have additional questions, please contact Virginia Wright by email (vwright@hollandbloorview.ca). Contacting us does not obligate you or your child to participate in the study.


Funding Agency

CIBC Children's Foundation

Learn more about this study