A common disorder
Cerebral palsy, a group of movement disorders, is the most common cause of physical disability in childhood, affecting two in 1000 children. It’s caused by abnormal development or damage to parts of the brain that control movement, balance and posture. Children with the disorders have reduced muscle and bone mass, and muscles that normally work in complementary action will simultaneously go into spasm, making movement difficult, and leading to muscle wasting over time. About half of children have a raised risk of bone fractures, partly because their muscles aren’t pulling on their bones in the normal way to promote healthy bone development. Until now, treatments to relieve the condition’s effects have been fairly limited: injection of botox, surgery, passive stretching by physiotherapists and injection of bisphosphonates to increase bone density. Dr Silmara Gusso (above) headed trials of the vibration device which helped Luke Torrens Kelly (right) gain 2kg in muscle mass after five months.