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Background: Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most prevalent lifelong disability in the UK and affects around 1 in 400 live births. Treatment of this disorder has not focussed on the needs of the patients. This is largely due to problems with outcome measures and methodology used by numerous disciplines. Methodological issues in rehabilitation techniques largely stem from a lack of a proper control group.
Aims/Objectives: To highlight the inconsistencies in outcome measures and issues concerning methodologies used in the research of CP treatment and rehabilitation. A comprehensive review was undertaken to identify ways how treatment of CP can be improved and enhanced.
Conclusions: Outcome measures differ between pharmacological and rehabilitation research. Overall, the outcome measures tend to be near-transfer effects rather than far-transfer effects. The methodological techniques in rehabilitation approaches are inadequate and need to use randomised control trials and crossover designs. The role of metacognition has been ignored to date. Virtual reality may provide the potential to employ motor/mental imagery training in a more suitable and economical way. Future research needs to investigate pharmacological treatment for dyskinesia and ataxia, but must also increase consultation with patients with CP and their families/carers. Null findings need publishing to enhance future research.
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