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Which Children with CP will Walk Independently?

This is a brief review of:

Wu YW, Day SM, Strauss DJ, Shavelle RM. Prognosis for ambulation in cerebral palsy: a population-based study. Pediatrics. 2004 Nov;114(5):1264-71.

Parents of children with cerebral palsy (CP) often ask their care givers whether their child will eventually walk independently. Motivated by this question, Dr Yvonne Wu, a pediatrician and neurologist at the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center, proposed this study.  Dr Wu led a team of researchers who anlyzed data on 2 to 3 year-old children with CP receiving services from the California Department of Developmental Services to estimate probabilities of transition from a non-ambulatory state (unable to walk) to one of three ambulatory states (walks with supportive devices, walks independently with some balance problems, or walks well alone at least 20 feet). Perhaps not surprisingly, the researchers found that those children who had greater levels of gross motor functioning (but were unable to walk) had a greater chance of eventually walking independently in the future. Those with greater levels of independent mobility also had substantially lower mortality rates.



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