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Research seeks to improve walking for children with CP

Cute little girl with cerebral palsy in a wheelchair celebrate birthday

Children with cerebral palsy (CP) are at greater risk for inactivity and functional decline with age. Children’s physical activity patterns are very different from adult patterns, yet the current training protocols designed to improve walking in children with CP simulate adult protocols.

Noelle Moreau, Associate Professor of Physical Therapy at LSU Health New Orleans School of Allied Health Professions, and Kristie Bjornson, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, are the co-principal investigators of a $2.7 million grant to study an innovative training method to improve walking in children with CP.

“Children with CP walk primarily at lower-intensity stride rates with less variability, which limits their walking activity and ability to participate in daily life,” said Dr. Moreau.

“Developing children engage in short bursts of intense physical activity with varying levels of low-intensity activity throughout the day. We want to determine if the short-burst interval training will optimize motor learning resulting in improved walking capacity, mobility and performance for these children.”

The study will determine the immediate and retention effects of short bursts of vigorous-intensity locomotor treadmill training in ambulatory children with CP on walking capacity, including community-based walking activity performance.

“We want to make participation in the study as convenient as possible for the children and their families,” adds Moreau.

The study will enroll children with CP between the ages of 6 and 10 for a total of 72 participants, 36 at each site.

For more information about the trial, visit


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