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Augmenting Balance in Individuals With Cerebellar Ataxias

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02887703
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : September 2, 2016
Last Update Posted : March 7, 2018
Sponsor:
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Kathleen Sienko, University of Michigan

Brief Summary:
This study evaluates the effectiveness of a 12-week in home balance training program with and without sensory augmentation for individuals with ataxia. Subjects wear a belt while performing balance exercises three times per week for 12 weeks. The belt measures body motion and has small vibrating elements called tactors mounted inside that when turned on, feel like a cell phone set to vibrate. The tactors provide information about body motion and indicate when and how to make a postural correction. Subjects will receive six weeks of balance training with the tactors turned on and six weeks of balance training with the tactors turned off.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Cerebellar Ataxia Behavioral: Sensory Augmentation Not Applicable

Detailed Description:
Cerebellar ataxias are a group of degenerative neurological disorders, resulting in deficits in speech, limb control, balance, and gait. Individuals with degenerative cerebellar ataxias are at a high-risk of falling and have progressive impairments in motor coordination resulting in unsteadiness in gait and posture. No definitive treatment options are available for ataxia. There is therefore a critical need to identify strategies to improve motor function and reduce falls in patients with ataxia. Physical therapy has been demonstrated to improve motor function in subjects with cerebellar ataxia, but the gains in performance following balance training are modest. Sensory augmentation is a technique of augmenting or replacing compromised sensory information. In the context of sensory-based balance impairments, a sensory augmentation device provides cues of body motion that supplement an individual's remaining intact sensory systems. The investigators hypothesize that sensory augmentation may improve the effectiveness of balance training in individuals with ataxia, and aid in greater improvement in motor function than traditional physical therapy alone. Sensory augmentation has been shown to decrease body sway during real-time operation in a laboratory setting in individuals with vestibular deficits and peripheral neuropathy, and general age-related declines in balance performance. Preliminary results suggest that persistent improvements in balance performance exist over time periods of hours to days following a small number of training sessions. This study aims to characterize the effects of sensory augmentation in individuals with ataxia during static and dynamic balance exercises over a period of twelve weeks of in home balance training with and without vibrotactile sensory augmentation.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 10 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
Masking: Single (Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Augmenting Balance in Individuals With Cerebellar Ataxias
Study Start Date : September 2016
Actual Primary Completion Date : January 31, 2018
Actual Study Completion Date : January 31, 2018


Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Sensory Augmentation Group 1
Each subject in Group 1 will undergo 6 weeks of balance training with sensory augmentation followed by 6 weeks of balance training without sensory augmentation.
Behavioral: Sensory Augmentation
Sensory augmentation is a technique of augmenting or replacing compromised sensory information. In the context of sensory-based balance impairments, a sensory augmentation device provides cues of body motion that supplement an individual's remaining intact sensory systems.
Other Names:
  • vibrotactile biofeedback
  • haptic feedback

Experimental: Sensory Augmentation Group 2
Each subject in Group 2 will undergo 6 weeks of balance training without sensory augmentation followed by 6 weeks of balance training with sensory augmentation.
Behavioral: Sensory Augmentation
Sensory augmentation is a technique of augmenting or replacing compromised sensory information. In the context of sensory-based balance impairments, a sensory augmentation device provides cues of body motion that supplement an individual's remaining intact sensory systems.
Other Names:
  • vibrotactile biofeedback
  • haptic feedback




Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Change in Scale for the assessment and rating of ataxia (SARA) [ Time Frame: pre balance training (week 1), mid balance training (week 6), post balance training (week 12) ]
    An 8-item scale including walking, standing, sitting, nose-to-finger movements, and fast alternating movements. Standard assessment scale for determining impairment level in individuals with ataxia.


Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Change in 10-meter Preferred Gait Speed [ Time Frame: pre balance training (week 1), mid balance training (week 6), post balance training (week 12) ]
    Preferred gait velocity will be measured while walking a 10-meter path.

  2. Change in 10-meter Fast Gait Speed [ Time Frame: pre balance training (week 1), mid balance training (week 6), post balance training (week 12) ]
    Fast gait velocity will be measured while walking a 10-meter path.


Other Outcome Measures:
  1. Change in Five Times Sit to Stand Test [ Time Frame: pre balance training (week 1), mid balance training (week 6), post balance training (week 12) ]
    A stop watch is used to measure how long it takes a participant to stand up and sit down five times in a row without using their hands.

  2. Change in Activities Specific Balance scale (ABC) [ Time Frame: pre balance training (week 1), mid balance training (week 6), post balance training (week 12) ]
    A 16-item questionnaire for participants to self report their balance confidence during activities of daily living.

  3. Change in Berg Balance Score [ Time Frame: pre balance training (week 1), mid balance training (week 6), post balance training (week 12) ]
    A 14-item scale to assess balance including sit-to-stand, standing, turning and picking up items from the floor.

  4. Change in Dynamic Gait Index (DGI) [ Time Frame: pre balance training (week 1), mid balance training (week 6), post balance training (week 12) ]
    An 8-item test to evaluate gait function including normal and fast walking, changing speeds, stepping over obstacles, pivoting, walking with head turns, and stairs.



Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Report to be in good general health
  • Are able to read and comprehend English
  • Have been diagnosed with either an inherited or sporadic degenerative cerebellar or sensory ataxia
  • Are able to stand for at least 30 seconds with no support
  • Must be willing and able to comply with study schedule
  • Must have wireless internet (WiFi) enabled in their home
  • Must be able to perform the home based exercises safely (as assessed by clinical research staff)

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Are pregnant or believe subject might be pregnant
  • Have been diagnosed with arthritis or other musculoskeletal disorder affecting joints, muscles, ligaments and/or nerves that affects the way subject moves
  • Have a history of fainting
  • Have a severe vision or hearing impairment that is not corrected by glasses or hearing aids
  • Have sustained a fall in the last six months that resulted in hospitalization or serious injury
  • Have corrected vision worse than 20/70 (considered threshold for moderate visual impairment)
  • Are unable to feel the vibrotactile feedback on their torso through the standard t-shirt provided by the study team
  • Have ankle dorsi-flexor/plantar-flexor weakness as demonstrated < 4/5 on manual muscle test
  • Have limited ankle range of motion demonstrated by inability to dorsiflex to neutral with the knee extended
  • Report lower extremity fracture/sprain in the past six months or more than one lower extremity total joint replacement
  • Are medically unstable (e.g. chest pain upon exertion, dyspnea, infection)
  • Have a history of any other neurological disease besides ataxia that might affect balance (e.g. cerebral vascular accident, Parkinson's disease, MS, ataxia)
  • Have a body mass index (BMI) over 30 kg/m2, computed from subject height and weight

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT02887703


Locations
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United States, Michigan
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States, 48109
Sponsors and Collaborators
Kathleen Sienko
Investigators
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Principal Investigator: Kathleen H Sienko, Ph.D. Department of Mechanical Engineering

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Responsible Party: Kathleen Sienko, Associate Professor, University of Michigan
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02887703     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: HUM00116756
First Posted: September 2, 2016    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: March 7, 2018
Last Verified: March 2018
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: Undecided
Keywords provided by Kathleen Sienko, University of Michigan:
ataxia
balance training
vibrotactile biofeedback
sensory augmentation
cerebellar ataxia
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Ataxia
Cerebellar Ataxia
Dyskinesias
Neurologic Manifestations
Nervous System Diseases
Signs and Symptoms
Cerebellar Diseases
Brain Diseases
Central Nervous System Diseases