[responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to Post”]
A popular type of animal-assisted therapy that involves horseback riding, known as hippotherapy, improves gait symmetry in children with cerebral palsy (CP), a study says.
Findings of the study, “Effect of hippotherapy on gait symmetry in children with cerebral palsy: A pilot study,” were published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology.
Cerebral palsy comprises a group of neurological disorders that affect posture and restrict movement. These disorders are caused by brain lesions that occur in fetal development or infancy.
Previous studies have shown that hippotherapy may be beneficial for improving posture, muscle strength, and gross motor function in children with CP. However, the effects of this kind of rehabilitation therapy on gait symmetry have never been studied.
“Currently available parameters that reflect the symmetry of trunk movement, such as root mean square and harmonic ratio of acceleration during walking, may not be analyzed instantly or visualized easily. Therefore, it would be valuable to establish a new simple, quantitative gait parameter that reflects the symmetry of trunk movement. The Lissajous figure of trunk acceleration signals is quantified to analyze the Lissajous index (LI), using a simple formula for the representation of the symmetry index,” the researchers wrote.
Lissajous figures are a variety of curves formed by combining two mutually perpendicular motions. In this study, a team of researchers from the Tohoku University in Japan and their collaborators set out to analyze the effects of hippotherapy on gait symmetry and assess the usefulness of LI as a quantitative method to assess gait symmetry in a group of children with CP.