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The Cerebral Palsy Adult Transition (CPAT) study is being conducted by a team of researchers at the Center for Gait and Movement Analysis (CGMA) at Children’s Hospital Colorado Orthopedics Institute. The three-year research project evaluates the walking ability, overall health and quality of life of adults with cerebral palsy who have moved from pediatric to adult care.
The study is led by Dr. James Carollo, Ph.D., director of the Gait Lab, and looks at former patients of the CGMA who performed gait analysis as a child.
Jillian August is a participant in the study and has been working with Dr. Carollo since she first came to the CGMA at 8 years old. Physical therapists placed specialized sensors that looked like marbles all over her lower body to track her muscles and calculate how they turn off and on with each step. Now 24, Jillian walks 20% faster than she did 10 years ago and has improved greatly.
"The important thing we're learning is it's really important to continue to monitor walking throughout adulthood so that we can identify new problems before they become bigger problems and lead to this descending spiral that leads to a sedentary lifestyle which we know can lead to an increased risk for health conditions," said Dr. Carollo, Ph.D., director of the Gait Lab and leader of the CPAT study.
Researchers believe that evidence gained from the study will help raise awareness of the concerns of adults with cerebral palsy, and the need for continued assessment of walking ability over their lifespan.