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K03 A multidisciplinary intensive rehabilitation programme for individuals with Huntington's disease: preliminary results from the pilot project
  1. A Piira1,
  2. L Øie1,
  3. S F Knutsen1,
  4. M van Walsem2,
  5. J Frich3
  1. 1North Norway Rehabilitation Centre, Tromsø, Norway
  2. 2Centre for Rare Disorders, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
  3. 3University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway


Background Studies suggest that persons with Huntington's disease (HD) benefit from intensive rehabilitation.

Aims To assess preliminary results of a multidisciplinary rehabilitation programme on quality of life, cognitive and motor function.

Methods 12 patients with early and middle stage (stages I–III of the Shoulson and Fahn Rating Scale) HD underwent a 3 week rehabilitation programme of up to 8 h 5 days per week including cognitive training, speech, physical and occupational therapy, group discussions and lectures on topics such as nutrition. A family member participated during the first week of the programme. Inclusion criteria: mild or moderate grade of HD, age 18+ years, no severe psychiatric illness, none/slight reduction in cognitive function and full/mostly full independence in Active Daily Living functions.

Results Mean age was 48 years with an average of 6 years since symptom debut. Mean total functional capacity (TFC) score was 9 (not working and in need of light assistance i ADL function), mean Mini-Mental State Examination indicated a reduced general cognitive function (24 of 30) and mean Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale score of 9 showed slight depression. Mean on Activity Specific Confidence scale showed 81% confidence to maintain balance in different situations. All subjects showed improvement in gait (6 min walking test (mean change +31.42 m (p=0.03); 10 m walking test (mean change −0.80 s (p=0.02); stand up and go test (mean change −1.24 s (p=0.003)). Bergs Balance Scale showed significant improvement (mean change 2 points, p=0.03).

Conclusion A multidisciplinary intensive rehabilitation programme is associated with improved balance and walking function in persons in the early and middle stages of HD.

  • rehabilitation
  • Huntington's disease

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