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Baby Treadmills Treat Down's Syndrome

Children born with Down’s Syndrome take at least twice as much time to learn to walk as the one year that most children take. So researchers have invented a treadmill for babies to help these Down’s Syndrome children develop the circulation, coordination, and balance necessary for the Down’s babies to walk for themselves.


The treatment with these new treadmills used in a recent study involved using a treadmill about eight minutes per day, five days per week, until the infants could take up to ten steps on their own. Then a series of measurements were made electronically to mark an individual child’s progress. The results of those measurements show that those children who received the treadmill training walked an average of six months earlier than those who did not receive the training.


Treadmill Traiing and Down's Syndrome

Dr. Dale Ulrich of the University of Michigan led the 2009 study, called The Effects of Intensity of Treadmill Training on Developmental Outcomes and Stepping in Infants with Down Syndrome. Dr. Ulrich says that earlier walking leads to earlier development of social skills, as well as the physical. He used thirty babies in his study. The babies did low intensity treadmill training at home and increased the speed and duration gradually and light weights were later added to the babies’ ankles for only about half of the group. Both sub-groups underwent other physical therapy concurrent with the treadmill training. The researchers concluded that the sub-group that increased the intensity of its training increased the numbers of controlled steps substantially more than, and at an earlier age than, the group whose intensity was not increased.


Down’s Syndrome is a genetic and chromosomal disorder. Though children born with Downs Syndrome comprise fewer than about one eight of one per cent of new births, it involves life-long difficulties in addition to other delayed physical and intellectual development. Dr. Ulrich said that treadmill treatment can begin at ages eight to twelve months.





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