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Clinical therapeutics
Q15 A pilot study of an exercise intervention to improve motor function in people with Huntington's disease (HD)
  1. H Khalil1,
  2. L Quinn1,
  3. R van Dursen1,
  4. H Dawes2,
  5. R Playle3,
  6. A Rosser4,
  7. M Busse1
  1. 1Cardiff University, School of Health Care Studies, Department of Physiotherapy and Research Centre of Clinical Kinesiology, Cardiff, UK
  2. 2Oxford Brooks University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Oxford, UK
  3. 3Cardiff University, South East Wales Trial Cardiff, UK
  4. 4Cardiff University, School of Medicine, Departments of Physicological, Cardiff, UK


Background There is evidence that exercise delivered in home and community settings can benefit people with some neurodegenerative conditions; however, it is not known if or how exercise affects people with HD. The aim of this study was to explore feasibility, acceptability and benefits of a home-based exercise programme in people with HD.

Methods 25 subjects were allocated to either intervention (home based exercise; n=13) or control (usual care; n=12) groups. The intervention group received an exercise DVD and were asked to do the exercises at home 3 times per week for 8 weeks. Participants were assessed at baseline and immediately post intervention. Outcomes included measures of gait, balance, function, physical activity and quality of life. Analysis of covariance was used to compare follow-up scores across groups after adjustment for differences at baseline. Effect sizes were calculated for outcome measures based on differences in change scores between groups. Process interviews were conducted at the end of the study to determine acceptability of the intervention to participants.

Results Adherence rates were high (80% of participants completed at least 79.2% of the sessions). Significant differences between groups were also observed in gait speed, balance, function and level of physical activity. Effect sizes were large (>0.8) for the majority of the outcomes. Qualitative data from the intervention group suggested high levels of acceptability of the programme, with positive impact on mood and mobility.

Conclusion Preliminary findings from this pilot work demonstrated that a short-term exercise programme is acceptable and beneficial to people with HD. Findings from this study support methodology and sample size calculations for future studies.

  • Huntington's disease
  • exercise
  • mobility

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