Low bone mineral density (BMD) and uneven a BMD between the affected and unaffected sides of persons with hemiplegic cerebral palsy are hallmark CP traits. Bone density is important because denser bones are less likely to break or to develop osteoporosis. Immobility and an overly sedentary lifestyle can contribute to low BMD.
During a recent study published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, researchers analyzed the effects of physical fitness training on the body composition of Paralympic athletes who have hemiplegic cerebral palsy.
What the researchers found is that the athletes had similar bone mineral density measurements on their affected and non-affected sides. This is not the case for the sedentary population with cerebral palsy. Even more encouraging, the athletes’ BMD measurements were similar to the measurements of age-matched non-disabled peers.