Thursday, July 26, 2007

Hand function in subjects with spina bifida

Muen WJ, Bannister CM. Hand function in subjects with spina bifida.
European Journal of Pediatric Surgery. 1997 Dec;7 Suppl 1:18-22.

The aim of our study was to assess the influence of the Arnold-Chiari malformation, cervical cord dysraphism and hydrocephalus on hand function in subjects with meningomyelocele, but without many of the other confounding factors commonly found in this group e.g low IQ and cerebral palsy, which in themselves cause poor hand function. Three groups of subjects who attended main stream schools underwent a basic neurological examination of the upper limbs and a battery of hand function tests. Group 1 consisted of subjects with meningomyelocele and shunted hydrocephalus (n = 21), Group 2 subjects had isolated shunted hydrocephalus (n = 13) and Group 3 were normal controls (n = 18). The results show that subjects with meningomyelocele had weaker power in the small muscles of the hand as compared to the controls and those with isolated hydrocephalus (p = 0.01) and poorer fine motor control and co-ordination. The meningomyelocele group scored significantly poorer in all of the tests as compared to the control group using the dominant hand (overall, p = 0.0003), and all of the tests but one using the non-dominant hand (overall, p = 0.0005). Our study has demonstrated that children with meningomyelocele have poorer hand function than healthy controls, which is due to causes other than hydrocephalus, poor IQ or cerebral hemisphere pathology. Instead, cerebellar and cervical cord abnormalities appear to be exerting a significant deleterious influence on the function of the upper limbs.

PMID: 9497111

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