Brunel University London researchers recently announced that they are looking for teenagers with cerebral palsy to participate in a new trial that the team is planning to launch in February and March 2016. This STAR trial will study whether strengthening exercises for the calf muscles might help teenagers with cerebral palsy to walk.
The study – led by Dr. Jennifer Ryan and Grace Lavelle – will run for 10 weeks and will enroll teenagers ages 10-19 who are able to walk, with or without help. The participants will be assigned to either an exercise or a control group. The study will involve 10 sessions at a location close to the participants home, and three assessments at Brunel in Uxbridge, U.K.
In a press release from Brunel University, Ryan explained the idea behind the study: “Strength training is designed to make your muscles stronger. It has been shown that people with cerebral palsy have weak calf muscles, which may prevent them from carrying out activities such as walking, running or climbing stairs. In this study we are aiming to strengthen the calf muscles as we think this will make these activities easier to do.”
The study will start with questionnaire screens that both parents and study participants will be asked to complete. The questionnaires will measure the extent of physical activity in the everyday lives of participants. The researchers will also measure muscle strength and explore their condition when participants walk.
The young people selected to take part in the exercise group will be prescribed home exercises to be done twice a week. They will also participate in gym training at a local gym together with other teenagers. All exercises will be prescribed by Brunel physiotherapists.
According to the release, the participants will not be offered payment for taking part in the study, but will receive a £20 (approximately 28 U.S. dollars) shopping voucher at the end of the trial. The study will also cover transportation costs for the three assessments at Brunel University.
Parents of the participating teenagers will be fully informed and are encouraged to be present throughout the trial. Parental consent will be needed for teenagers under age 16.
For more information about the STAR trial and how to participate, please visit this link.