As each day passes, medical research communities strive to find alternative means of evaluating and treating specific conditions. One of those communities is comprised of a professional and highly educated team of PhDs at Alabama University at Birmingham, located in Birmingham, AL. Sharon Ramey, PhD developer and head of research efforts (of Pediatric CI Therapy) with co-researchers, Stephanie C. Deluca, PhD, K. Echols, PhD., Pt. PCS, and E. Taub, PhD. broadened Pediatric CI investigations. Pediatric Constraint-Induced Therapy, (also called Pediatric CI Therapy) was initiated to further advance treatment in children suffering from neuromotor disabilities. Funded by a grant from Alabama Health Service Foundation, Pediatric Neuromotor Research Clinic was established and is now being co-directed by Drs. Echols and DeLuca.
CI Therapy, also known as "Taub Therapy," was initially developed by Dr. Edward Taub, Director of Taub Therapy Clinic in Birmingham, AL. A medical innovation that is successful in over 95% of stroke patients in helping regain significant movement, Taub therapy is an effective stroke rehabilitation therapy that consists of restricting use of unaffected limbs to "rewire" neurons in brain.
To explore Pediatric CI Therapy, I asked Dr. Deluca a few questions about this particular therapy in an informal interview:
Q [C.Bailey-Lloyd] Could you explain exactly how therapy works?
A [Stephanie C. DeLuca] The therapy is aimed at children who have asymmetric abilities with their upper extremities because of a lesion within central nervous system. It involves casting child's stronger arm and hand with a lightweight splint which children wear 24 hours a day for 3 weeks. Children are then treated for 6 hours each day for 21 consecutive days.
Q [C. Bailey-Lloyd] What can one expect from this therapy, and on average, how long is treatment necessary?
A [Stephanie C. DeLuca] This varies from child to child and is dependent on child's incoming abilities. But children routinely develop numerous new motor abilities with weaker arm and hand.
Q [C.Bailey-Lloyd] How long has this treatment been in use and how successful is it?
A [Stephanie C. DeLuca] We have been implementing this approach for almost 5 years with approximately 65 children and have seen very dramatic results. But again where children end up is dependent on where they start.
Q [C.Bailey-Lloyd] Are there any side effects to this treatment? Please explain
A [Stephanie C. DeLuca] In general there have been very few negative side effects. Minor discomfort with relation to cast but that is usually very transient.
Q [C.Bailey-Lloyd] Who utilizes this therapy (in practice) and how widely is it used across nation?
A [Stephanie C. DeLuca] We are only clinic using entire protocol that we are aware of.
Q [C Bailey-Lloyd] Is this therapy effective on neurological disorders/ diseases other than Cerebral Palsy and Stroke patients?
A [Stephanie C. DeLuca] That still needs to be addressed with research.
On question of Pediatric CI Therapy effectiveness opposed to other conventional medical treatments, Dr. DeLuca referred me to recently published research efforts in a Pediatric paper. According to research team, stated results were"... Children receiving pediatric CI therapy compared with controls acquired significantly more new classes of motoric skills (9.3 vs 2.2); demonstrated significant gains in mean amount (2.1 vs 0.1) and quality (1.7 vs 0.3) of more-affected arm use at home; and in a laboratory motor function test displayed substantial improvement including increases in unprompted use of more-affected upper extremity (52.1% vs 2.1% of items). Benefits were maintained over 6 months, with supplemental evidence of quality-of-life changes for many children."
In Pediatric Paper Conclusion, "...Pediatric CI therapy produced major and sustained improvement in motoric function in young children with hemiparesis in study."