This is an interesting little study done in Beaverton, OR and published last week in the journal “Physical Therapy.” Ten people with the clinical diagnosis of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) were given balance training and eye movement exercises (“treatment group”) while nine people with PSP were given balance training only (“comparison group”).
“The within-group analysis revealed significant improvements in stance time and walking speed for the treatment group, whereas the comparison group showed improvements in step length only.”
The abstract is copied below.
Physical Therapy 2008 Oct 23. [Epub ahead of print]
Balance and Eye Movement Training to Improve Gait in People With Progressive Supranuclear Palsy: Quasi-Randomized Clinical Trial.
Zampieri C, Di Fabio RP.
Neurological Science Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Beaverton, OR.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Although vertical gaze palsy and gait instability are cardinal features of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), little research has been done to address oculomotor and gait rehabilitation for PSP.
The purpose of this study was to compare the benefits of a program of balance training complemented with eye movement and visual awareness training versus balance training alone to rehabilitate gait in people with PSP.
Participants Nineteen people moderately affected by the disease were assigned to either a treatment group (balance plus eye movement exercises, n=10) or a comparison group (balance exercises only, n=9) in a quasi-random fashion.
METHODS: The baseline characteristics assessed were diagnosis (possible versus probable), sex, age, time of symptom onset, dementia, and severity of symptoms. Within-group, between-group, and effect size analyses were performed on kinematic gait parameters (stance time, swing time, and step length) and clinical tests 8-ft [2.4-m] walk test and Timed “Up & Go” Test).
RESULTS: The within-group analysis revealed significant improvements in stance time and walking speed for the treatment group, whereas the comparison group showed improvements in step length only. Moderate to large effects of the intervention were observed for the treatment group, and small effects were observed for the comparison group. The between-group analysis did not reveal significant changes for either group.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: These preliminary findings support the use of eye movement exercises as a complementary therapy for balance training in the rehabilitation of gait in people with PSP and moderate impairments. Additional studies powered at a higher level are needed to confirm these results.
PubMed ID#: 18948373 (see pubmed.gov for the abstract only)