Abstract

Background

The search for early interventions is a novel approach in spinocerebellar ataxias, but there are few studies supporting this notion. This article aimed to assess the efficacy of neurorehabilitation treatment in prodromal spinocerebellar ataxia type 2.

Methods

Thirty spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 preclinical carriers were enrolled in a randomized, controlled trial using neurorehabilitation. The intervention in the treated group was 4 hours per day, 5 days per week for 12 weeks, emphasizing static balance, gait, and limb coordination. The control group did not receive rehabilitation. The primary outcome measure was the time for 5‐m tandem gait over the floor. Secondary outcomes included other timed tests with increased motor complexity, as well as the scores of the SARA and the Inventory of Non‐ataxia Symptoms.

Results

The times for 5‐m tandem gait over the floor and the mattress were significantly reduced only in the rehabilitated group. Moreover, the times upholding the tandem stance over a mattress and the seesaw were notably increased only in this group. Likewise, the finger‐nose and the heel‐shin tests were improved in the rehabilitated group alone. The SARA score and the count of nonataxia symptoms were unchanged.

Conclusions

This rehabilitation program improves the subtle gait, postural and coordinative deficits in prodromal spinocerebellar ataxia type 2, which provided novel hints about the preservation of motor learning and neural plasticity mechanisms in early disease stages, leading chances for other interventional approaches in this and other spinocerebellar ataxias. © 2019 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society

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