Last updated on November 2018

Aerobic Exercise Balance Training and Ataxia


Brief description of study

The first aim is to show aerobic training improves degenerative cerebellar patients functionally

The second aim is to compare the effects of balance and aerobic training on degenerative cerebellar disease.

Detailed Study Description

Individuals with degenerative cerebellar disease (DCD) exhibit gradual loss of coordination resulting in impaired balance, gait deviations, and severe, progressive disability. With no available disease-modifying medications, balance training is the primary treatment option to improve motor skills and functional performance.

Aerobic training, on the other hand, may modify DCD progression as evident from animal data. Compared to sedentary controls, aerobically trained DCD rats have enhanced lifespan, motor function, and cerebellar Purkinje cell survival. Numerous animal studies also document that aerobic training has a direct, favorable effect on the brain that includes production of neurotrophic hormones, enhancement of neuroplasticity mechanisms, and protection from neurotoxins.

The effects of aerobic training in humans with DCD are relatively unknown, despite these encouraging animal data. A single study to date has evaluated the benefits of aerobic exercise on DCD in humans, and this was a secondary outcome of the study. Although participants performed limited aerobic training during the study, modest functional benefits were still detected.

The main objective of this project will be to compare the benefits of aerobic versus balance training in DCD. The investigators hypothesize that both aerobic and balance training will improve function in DCD subjects, but that the mechanisms in which these improvements occur differ.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT03745248

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