A systematic review of the gait characteristics associated with Cerebellar Ataxia

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Background Cerebellar Ataxias are a group of gait disorders resulting from dysfunction of the cerebellum, commonly characterised by slowly progressing incoordination that manifests as problems with balance and walking leading to considerable disability. There is increasing acceptance of gait analysis techniques to quantify subtle gait characteristics that are unmeasurable by current clinical methods This systematic review aims to identify the gait characteristics able to differentiate between Cerebellar Ataxia and healthy controls. Methods Following systematic search and critical appraisal of the literature, gait data relating to preferred paced walking in Cerebellar Ataxia was extracted from 21 studies. A random-effect model meta-analysis was performed for 14 spatiotemporal parameters. Quality assessment was completed to detect risk of bias. Results There is strong evidence that compared with healthy controls, Cerebellar Ataxia patients walk with a reduced walking speed and cadence, reduced step length, stride length, and swing phase, increased walking base width, stride time, step time, stance phase and double limb support phase with increased variability of step length, stride length, and stride time. Conclusion The consensus description provided here, clarifies the gait pattern associated with ataxic gait disturbance in a large cohort of participants. High quality research and reporting is needed to explore specific genetic diagnoses and identify biomarkers for disease progression in order to develop well-evidenced clinical guidelines and interventions for Cerebellar Ataxia.




Buckley, E., Mazzà, C., & McNeill, A. (2018, February 1). A systematic review of the gait characteristics associated with Cerebellar Ataxia. Gait and Posture. Elsevier B.V. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gaitpost.2017.11.024

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