Balance and physical functioning in Spinocerebellar ataxias 3 and 10

Abstract

Objectives

Limitations of functional capacity and balance are common features of the natural history of spinocerebellar ataxias (SCA). However, their onset and progression patterns differ according to subtype. The aim of our study was to compare physical functionality and balance parameters in SCA10 and SCA3 patients, correlating with clinical variables.

Materials & Methods

Cross‐sectional study evaluating ninety‐five SCA patients (60 with SCA3 and 35 with SCA10) with validated scales for functional independence, balance and the severity of signs and symptoms.

Results

The groups were similar in terms of age and gender, and results were adjusted for age at symptom onset. The SCA10 patients had better results for balance and functional independence (p < 0.007). They also had lower scores for disease severity (p < 0.0002) and the subitems gait (p < 0.0005), posture (p < 0.0021) and sitting balance (p < 0.0008). Symptom progression in both groups was similar for patients with a disease duration of up to ten years, but there was a more marked decline in SCA3 patients after this period.

Conclusions

We have shown that disease progression as assessed by balance and physical functioning is slower in SCA10 patients than SCA3 patients, particularly after 10 years of disease. These findings are important as they can help to characterize the disease, assisting in the development of new therapies and rehabilitation programs.

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