About the Project

Project ACT NOW is a research study focused on understanding the effects of primary impairments and the development of secondary conditions experienced by adults with cerebral palsy (CP). This study will also design and test a targeted aquatic intervention.

The long-term goal of Project ACT NOW is to gain a better understanding of the effects of again on adults with CP. We aim to be able to provide knowledge and education focused on the importance of life-long fitness for maintaining function and quality of life. We also aspire to determine the ability of an aquatic exercise intervention to diminish the severity of select secondary conditions and improve health-related quality of life in adults with CP.

Project ACT NOW has two parts:

PART I: In PART I of the Project, we are COLLECTING INFORMATION about health and function in adults with CP. Information about strength, endurance, body composition, and health will be collected. This information will be integral in helping to prevent the development of secondary conditions and in designing successful intervention strategies.

PART II: In Part II of Project ACT NOW, we are investigating how AQUATIC RESISTIVE EXERCISE affects strength, function, mobility, quality of life, activity level, and participation in adults with CP. Dr. Thorpe (Principal Investigator) has previously shown that aquatic exercise is beneficial for persons with CP. Please see Related Research for more information.

Goals of Part II

Through aquatic resistive exercise training, we hope to:

Increase STRENGTH: To increase muscle strength, especially in the legs, thereby increasing one’s ability to function more independently.

Improve FUNCTION: To make activities of daily living, leisure, and recreation easier for adults with CP.

Increase MOBILITY: To increase independence by increasing the ability to move and navigate through varying environments.

Improve QUALITY OF LIFE: Health related quality of life (HRQL) is an important measure of a person’s overall wellness. By increasing strength, function, and mobility, we hope to increase HRQL.

Increase ACTIVITY LEVEL: To increase the participant’s amount of daily activity (activities of daily living, both leisure and/or recreational) and to educate adults with CP on the importance of remaining physically active throughout their lifetime.

Increase PARTICIPATION: To increase the overall participation of adults with CP in activities within the home and community.


School of Medicine
Division of Physical Therapy
Center for Human Movement Science
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Approved by UNC-CH IRB 08/01/06
Funded by the National Institutes of Health/National Center for
Research Resources :  # 1 K23 RR024054-01

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