Hand-Arm Bimanual Intensive Therapy Improves Prefrontal Cortex Activation in Children with Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy

Swati M. Surkar, Rashelle M. Hoffman, Sandra Willett, Janice Flegle, Regina Harbourne, Max J. Kurz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine the changes in the prefrontal cortical (PFC) activation following hand-arm bimanual intensive therapy (HABIT) in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy (HCP). Methods: Nine children with HCP and 15 children who were developing typically participated in the study. Children with HCP received 50 hours of HABIT. We assessed pre- and post-HABIT PFC activation using functional near-infrared spectroscopy neuroimaging. Bimanual coordination and motor task performance were assessed using the Assisting Hand Assessment (AHA), the average number of shapes matched, the shape matching errors, the reaction time, the 9-hole peg test, and the box and blocks test. Results: The PFC activation decreased following HABIT and became similar to what was seen in the children who were developing typically. Post-HABIT PFC activation improvements paralleled with the improvements seen in the AHA and the behavioral outcomes. Conclusion: HABIT potentially improves the PFC's involvement in the action planning of the upper extremity movements in children with HCP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-100
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric Physical Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018



  • action-planning
  • bimanual coordination
  • cognition
  • fNIRS
  • motor planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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