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Patients with spina bifida suffer from motor paralysis and sensory disturbance, secondary deformation of the lower extremities, and development of decubitus ulcers. A deep understanding of one's body, such as identifying the names, functions, relationships, homology (e.g. upper and lower limbs) and relative position of body parts, may prevent secondary disorders. The awareness of the body and its characteristics in children with spina bifida have not been fully elucidated. This study aimed to investigate how children with spina bifida perceive their bodies, especially their paralysed parts and related or homologous ones. Participants included 36 children with spina bifida and 14 control children, aged 5-11 years. They were asked to draw self-portraits, and to answer questions about the names of body parts. The number of drawn body parts in the pictures and the correct response rates to the questions were quantified and compared between children with spina bifida and control children. Children with spina bifida drew fewer hands, legs, and feet than control children. In the verbal tests, children with spina bifida had a lower correct response rate than control children on questions concerning the upper limbs, hands, trunk, and feet. Children with spina bifida have diminished visuospatial and lexical-semantic body knowledge of the paralysed parts and related organs. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


Hiroshi Mano, Sayaka Fujiwara, Yabuki Sayumi, Tanaka Hiroshi, Takikawa Kazuharu, Nobuhiko Haga. Body Knowledge in Children with Spina Bifida. Pediatrics international : official journal of the Japan Pediatric Society. 2021 Mar 29

PMID: 33780073

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