Robotic Rehabilitation and Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Children With Bilateral Cerebral Palsy

Liliane Raess, Rachel L. Hawe, Megan Metzler, Ephrem Zewdie, Elizabeth Condliffe, Sean P. Dukelow, Adam Kirton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Aim: To identify challenges of combining robotic upper extremity rehabilitation with tDCS in children with upper extremity bilateral cerebral palsy (CP) by assessing feasibility, tolerability and safety. Methods: This was an unblinded, open-label, pilot clinical trial. Participants completed 10 × 1 h sessions of robotic rehabilitation combined with motor cortex anodal tDCS. Feasibility, acceptability and practicality, were assessed including the number of participants completing the protocol, factors limiting participation, time required for sessions, and completion of functional assessments and tolerability scales. To assess safety, standardized clinical and robotic measures of sensorimotor function were performed. The trial was registered at (NCT04233710). Results: Eight children were recruited (mean age 8y ± 1.8y, range 6–11 years) and 5 completed the intervention. There were no serious adverse events. One child developed focal seizures 6 weeks after the trial that were deemed to be unrelated. Barriers to completion included time and scheduling demands and patient factors, specifically cognitive/behavioral impairments and dyskinesia. No decline in clinical function was appreciated. Conclusions: Robotic upper extremity rehabilitation combined with tDCS may be feasible in children with bilateral CP. Careful participant selection, family engagement, and protocol adaptations are recommended to better understand the feasibility and tolerability of future trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number843767
JournalFrontiers in Rehabilitation Sciences
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 Raess, Hawe, Metzler, Zewdie, Condliffe, Dukelow and Kirton.


  • bilateral cerebral palsy
  • children
  • pediatric
  • robotic rehabilitation
  • transcranial direct current stimulation


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