Organiser: La Salle Centre for Higher University Studies
Collaborating organisations: Ramon Molinas Foundation, Convives con Espasticidad and Werium Assistive Solutions.
Dates of implementation: 13/07/2018 – 12/07/2019.
Research programme to develop a new rehabilitation therapy in children and young people with cerebral palsy using videogames
The Ramon Molinas Foundation Chair for Innovation in Applied Health Technologies (CINTAS-RMF) is a research program lead by the La Salle Centre for Higher University Studies in Madrid with the aim of analysing the clinical benefits of using videogames for children and young adults with cerebral palsy. Sponsored by the RMF and with the collaboration of Werium Assistive Solutions and Convives con Espasticidad (Living with Spasticity), the aim of the initiative is to generate a new strategy to recuperate control of the movement of the neck, chest, and posture of children and young adults with severe motor impairment.
The study originated from a piece of research sponsored by the RMF and carried out by the Niño Jesús University Children’s Hospital that analysed the therapeutic use of videogames in children with cerebral palsy. Headed by Dr. Sergio Lerma, the research used an inertial measurement unit developed by the Spanish National Council Science Research Bioengineering Group (Grupo de Bioingeniería del Consejo Nacional Español de Investigación en Ciencias – GBIO-CSIC) which integrated a three-dimensional accelerometer, a gyroscope and a 3D magnetometer. The mechanism, commercialised by Werium Solutions under the name ENLAZA, was able to measure the acceleration caused by movement and gravity, angular velocity and the magnetic field of children that participated in the study whilst they played videogames. The interface automatically collected kinematic information such as orientation, angular velocity and acceleration, data that is used to identify involuntary movements and posture in people with cerebral palsy. The study, which was carried out in a clinic settling, concluded that the use of videogames can lead to improvements in the development of children with severe cerebral palsy.
During the CINTAS-RMF professorship, a team from the La Salle Centre for Higher University Studies led by Dr. Sergio Lerma and Werium Assistive Solutions developed two videogames and a methodology to use for motor control disorders of the cervical spine in with children and adolescents with cerebral palsy. Videogames will be built using the results of the research above to facilitate the improvement of motor control of the cervical spine as the game progresses. La Salle Centre for Higher University Studies will then release the videogames and computer access aids to 20 children and adolescents with cerebral palsy to study the clinical benefits of using the games in a non-clinical setting, by donating to schools and hospitals.
The research aims to explore the changes in quality of life in regard to health for people with cerebral palsy
People with cerebral palsy have abnormal body posture. They typically have poor head control, with a tendency for the head to drop forward, to the back, or on one side of the body. The head is responsible for directional orientation of the special senses and its movements are influenced by information sent from the brain. Special senses disorders can therefore cause unusual head movements and head movement disorders can put considerable pressure on the special senses.
Maximising control of the head to improve head posture or reduce these abnormalities is important for functional reasons, and to correct any secondary conditions related to health and social interaction. For example, in a child with cerebral palsy, the alignment and stability of the oral structures for swallowing can be compromised by muscle tone patterns and irregular movements. Achieving oral functioning and correct alimentation start by obtaining better stability of the head to optimise the control of the jaw.
The objective of the programme is to research the impact of the use of videogames in abnormal positionings of the head and torso, analyse movement of the cranium in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy, and explore the changes in quality of life in regard to the health of the participants.
The La Salle Centre for Higher University Studies, Werium Assistive Solutions and Convives con Espasticidad, three organisations participating in the research
The La Salle Centre for Higher University Studies in Madrid was founded in 1948. From 1978 it has been assigned to the Autonomous University of Madrid grants official and approved university degrees. Currently, the centre is developing three areas of knowledge: Education Sciences, Health Sciences and Management and Technology. La Salle is constantly researching and experimenting ways to promote learning methods that are efficient, long-lasting and relevant, and encourages continual innovation in methodology.
Werium Assistive Solutions is a company that was created out of the Superior Council of Scientific Research (CSIC) in 2015. The company promotes emerging technologies with the aim of creating innovative solutions that are low cost and easy to use, to support clinical staff in the area of physiotherapy.
Lastly, Convives con Espasticidad is a non-profit organisation founded in 2008 whose mission is to promote the personal autonomy and inclusion of people with spasticity using information and communication technology. Spasticity is a motor disorder associated with many diseases and disabilities. Among these is a type of cerebral palsy named ‘spastic’. This is the most common type of cerebral palsy, occurring in 90% of children with the condition.
Cerebral palsy, the most common cause of permanent, severe physical disability in infancy
Cerebral palsy is a permanent psychomotor disorder which causes limitations in the activity of the person affected. It is a condition that is permanent but is not degenerative. Those with the condition will have it for their whole life, but it will not deteriorate. For this reason, people with cerebral palsy often suffer from additional problems that also require treatment. Although no cure exists for the disorder, it is possible to achieve a certain degree of development in the motor, cognitive, linguistic and social areas thanks to stimulation and learning techniques.
Cerebral palsy is the most common cause of permanent, severe disability in infancy. The damage which causes cerebral palsy can occur from the foetal stage up until four years of life. The disorder affects between two or three in every 1,000 new-borns, according to Surveillance of Cerebral Palsy in Europe (SCPE). In Catalonia there are more than 14,000 people with the disorder. The same number of cases are recorded in Catalonia – between two and three in every 1,000 babies – meaning that there are 120 to 150 cases detected every year. In Spain, there are 81,400 people with cerebral palsy.
Links of interest:
 Raya, E. Rocon, R. Ceres, J. Harlaar and J. Geytenbeek. Characterizing Head Motor Disorders to Create Novel Interfaces for People with Cerebral Palsy. IEEE International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics 2011.
 Gresty, M. and Halmagyi, G.M. Abnormal head movements. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, 1979, 42, 705-714.
 F. Redstone; J. F. West. The Importance of Postural Control for Feeding. Pediatric Nursing. 2004;30.
 Johnson, A. Prevalence and characteristics of children with cerebral palsy in Europe. Develop-mental Medicine and Child Neurology 2002, 44,9, 633.