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Immediate effect of a functional wrist orthosis for children with cerebral palsy or brain injury: a randomized controlled trial
Jackman M, Novak I, Lannin N, Galea C
Journal of Hand Therapy 2019 Jan-Mar;32(1):10-16
clinical trial
8/10 [Eligibility criteria: Yes; Random allocation: Yes; Concealed allocation: Yes; Baseline comparability: Yes; Blind subjects: No; Blind therapists: No; Blind assessors: Yes; Adequate follow-up: Yes; Intention-to-treat analysis: Yes; Between-group comparisons: Yes; Point estimates and variability: Yes. Note: Eligibility criteria item does not contribute to total score] *This score has been confirmed*

STUDY DESIGN: Two-group randomized controlled trial. INTRODUCTION: Upper limb orthoses worn during functional tasks are commonly used in pediatric neurologic rehabilitation, despite a paucity of high-level evidence. PURPOSE OF THE STUDY: The purpose of this study was to investigate if a customized functional wrist orthosis, when placed on the limb, leads to an immediate improvement in hand function for children with cerebral palsy or brain injury. METHODS: A 2-group randomized controlled trial involving 30 children was conducted. Participants were randomized to either receive a customized functional wrist orthosis (experimental, n = 15) or not receive an orthosis (control, n = 15). The box and blocks test was administered at baseline and repeated 1 hour after experimental intervention, with the orthosis on if randomized to the orthotic group. RESULTS: After intervention, there were no significant differences on the box and blocks test between the orthotic group (mean 10.13; standard deviation 11.476) and the no orthotic group (mean 14.07; standard deviation 11.106; t[28] = -0.954; p = 0.348; and 95% confidence interval -12.380 to 4.513). DISCUSSION: In contrast to the findings of previous studies, our results suggest that a functional wrist orthosis, when supporting the joint in a 'typical' position, may not lead to an immediate improvement in hand function. CONCLUSIONS: Wearing a functional wrist orthosis did not lead to an immediate improvement in the ability of children with cerebral palsy or brain injury to grasp and release. Further research is needed combining upper limb orthoses with task-specific training and measuring outcomes over the medium to long term.

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