Effects of equine-assisted activities on attention and quali
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Attention problems and decreased quality of life are frequently accompanied in Cerebral Palsy (CP), which can negatively affect rehabilitation of physical disability. Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) use horse as a therapeutic modality including grooming as well as mounted riding activities in which patients exercise and experience mounted stimulation. This study aims to investigate the efficacy of EAA for children with CP, those with both CP and ADHD and confirm the comorbidity between CP and ADHD.

46 children with cerebral palsy participated in this study. For the exercise group, they participated in a 40-min session twice a week for a 16-week period, while the control group engaged in daily life without any special treatments. Each children individually were assessed on attention and psychological wellbeing at baseline and post-treatment. Comorbidity were identified based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder 5th edition (DSM-5) and confirmed by Korean Kiddie-Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia Present and Lifetime Version (K-SADS-PL).

Results:
--Perseveration rated using the Conner’s Performance Test (CPT) showed a significant decrease only in the exercise group.

--However, no significant improvement in children’s quality of life was observed after EAA program compared with control group.

--Among the total participants, 15 children were diagnosed with ADHD.

--When conducting an additional analysis with the subsample of CP patients diagnosed with ADHD, the d’, commission error and perseveration showed a significant decrease only in the exercise group.

--Children with CP and ADHD reported an improvement in quality of life both in exercise and control group, but only in the exercise group social functioning exhibited a significant difference.

Conclusively, the positive effects of the EAA on attention and quality of life were confirmed. Children with CP in the exercise group were more capable to sustain their attention longer. Those with CP and ADHD showed an increase in attention and perceived to have better social skills after receiving 16?weeks of EAA compared to those in the control group. Considering high comorbidity of CP and ADHD, it seems that the EAA program could be the better alternative treatment for CP with attentional problem.

Source: https://bmcpediatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12887-021-02597-0
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