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Friedreich’s Ataxia News present a new study on a vibration device that could help movement coordination for ataxic persons

Resume from the Friedreich’s Ataxia News article, Vibration Device, Equistasi, Seen to Aid Movement in Ataxia Patients in Small Study 

“The study, “A Wearable Proprioceptive Stabilizer For Rehabilitation Of Limb And Gait Ataxia In Hereditary Cerebellar Ataxias: A Pilot Open-Labeled Study,” was published in the journal Neurological Sciences.

Equistasi is a medical device consisting of a rectangular plate exclusively composed of nanotechnology fibers that transform the body temperature into mechanical vibratory energy. This device helps coordinate movement, and has been tested in patients with movement diseases such as Parkinson’s, but whether it may also benefit patients with Friedreich’s ataxia was unknown.

The study enrolled 11 adults with spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) or Friedreich’s ataxia (FRDA), who were asked to wear Equistasi for three weeks. Clinical assessment was performed at study’s start, after device use (T1), and three weeks after stopping use of the device (T2). Measurements included the assessment and rating of ataxia (SARA) score, nine holes peg test (9-HPT), PATA dysarthria test, and the 6 minute walking test (6-MWT). Gait measurement was carried out using a portable inertial sensor (BTS-G-Walk).

Results showed that, between the start of the study and T1, patients presented significant improvements in SARA, 9HPT dominant hand, PATA test and 6MWT. They also improved in several gait measurement parameters. Despite a general worsening trend of all these parameters after device discontinuation, most parameters that had improved at T1 were not significantly different at T2.

“This small open-labeled study represents a first preliminary evidence that focal mechanical vibration exerted by a wearable proprioceptive stabilizer might improve limb and gait ataxia in patients affected by hereditary cerebellar ataxias,” researchers wrote. “Since our study was hypothesis-generating in nature, a larger study would be needed to confirm the findings herewith presented. Further wider randomized controlled studies are necessary to well establish effectiveness of this non-pharmacological rehabilitative therapeutic approach to limb and gait ataxia in hereditary cerebellar ataxias.”

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