In the lab space at 4480 Clayton Avenue, Catherine Hoyt, PhD, OTD, OTR/L, and Maribeth Clifton, OTD, OTR/L, prepare to participate in a multi-site Phase III clinical trial called I-ACQUIRE. In this case, that preparation involves practicing using toys therapeutically for infants and toddlers who have experienced perinatal article stroke (PAS). The study aims to determine the efficacy of constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) for children between 8 and 36 months of age. Hoyt serves at the site’s co-principal investigator.
“Children experience PAS through an injury to the brain due to lack of oxygen. This can cause hemiparesis, where one side of the body does not move as well as the other, and can severely limit a child’s ability to engage in the world around them. The outcomes vary depending on the stroke’s severity and where in the brain it occurred,” Hoyt explains. “The first few years are so critical for intervention because as children begin developing motor skills, they start favoring their stronger arm – the unaffected side – to feed themselves and play. Intervention can help the child learn to use both arms in everyday tasks, reducing the impact of disability as the child ages.”
To encourage study participants to use their weaker arm, Hoyt and her team will place the child’s unaffected arm and hand in a lightweight cast to wear for 3 ½ weeks during the study. Children will be seen for therapy for 20 days over the course of four weeks. Caregivers will participate in at least one hour of intensive play therapy each week and complete 45 minutes of practice each day with their child. The therapy will occur in the home or a home-like setting or child-care center at no cost. Clifton and colleague Jianna Fernandez, OTD, OTR/L, treating therapists on the study, will assist Hoyt in casting, therapy sessions, assessments and analyzing study data.