Objective To evaluate the effect of a physiotherapeutic exercise program for patients with HD concerning motor function and disability, balance and fall related self-efficacy, and to investigate the correlation between the seven assessment tools used in the study.
Design Pre-post interventional study with baseline assessments and a quasi experimental within-group design.
Setting Out-patient clinic at a university hospital.
Participants Twelve persons with genetically confirmed Huntington's disease at an early or middle stage of the disease and with a mean age of 52, 7 SD (16, 4).
Methods The intervention comprised physiotherapy aimed to improve motor function, disability, balance, and fall-related self-efficacy, and there was a treatment focus on improvement of transitions, walking, balance, posture, postural control and fall-related self efficacy. Baseline assessments including five clinical tests and two questionnaires were made 6 weeks and 0 weeks prior to the intervention. The same tests were used 0 and 6 weeks after the intervention.
Outcome measures Over all motor function and disability measured with the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale; Total Motor Score and Total Functional Assessment, static and dynamic balance measured with the One-leg stance-test, the Timed Up and GO Test, the Figure of eight-test and the Berg Balance Scale and fall-related self-efficacy measured with the Falls Efficacy Scale.
Results The physiotherapeutic exercise program demonstrated a significant improvement in balance measured with Berg balance scale (p=0.045) and indicated some positive effects on the participant's motor function (p=0.076) and fall-related self efficacy (P=0.089). The significant correlation coefficients between the different measurements of motor function, disability, balance and fall related self-efficacy range from 0.68 to 0.87.
Conclusions Physical therapy focused on transitions, walking, balance, posture, postural control and fall-related self efficacy twice a week for 6 weeks at an out-patient setting had a positive effect on the participants’ motor performance. Berg's balance scale appeared to be a useful instrument for patients with HD.
- Huntington's disease
- physical therapy
- motor function
- fall- related self efficacy
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