Quantitative assessment of the evolution of cerebellar signs in spinocerebellar ataxias

Mov Disord. 2011 Feb 15;26(3):534-8. doi: 10.1002/mds.23531. Epub 2011 Feb 1.


Background: Responsive ataxia rating scales are essential for determining outcome measures in clinical trials.

Methods: We evaluated the responsiveness over time of the composite cerebellar functional severity score, a quantitative score measuring cerebellar ataxia in 133 patients with autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxias (ADCA), which were prospectively evaluated at inclusion and after one-year of follow-up. A more responsive tool was developed, the Cerebellar Functional Severity score writing, incorporating the writing test at dominant hand to the Cerebellar Functional Severity score.

Results: Within the one-year follow-up period, the Cerebellar Functional Severity score and its writing version increased significantly and the Scale for the Assessment and Rating of Ataxia decreased significantly reflecting increased severity of the cerebellar symptoms. The Cerebellar Functional Severity score writing responsiveness was best in genotypes SCA1, 2, and 3 compared with the other genotypes (effect size = 0.196, standardized response mean (SRM) = 0.624 versus effect size = -0.051, SRM = -0.150). The Cerebellar Functional Severity score writing used as an outcome measure would require only 163 SCA1, 2, or 3 patients per group in a two-arm interventional trial for a 50% reduction in progression and 80% of power.

Discussion: Our study demonstrates that the Cerebellar Functional Severity score and Cerebellar Functional Severity score writing are responsive quantitative scores for evaluating sensitivity to change in ADCA patients and can be used as outcome measures in clinical trials, especially when targeting genotypes SCA1, 2 and 3.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cerebellum / pathology
  • Cerebellum / physiopathology*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sample Size
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxias / diagnosis*
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxias / physiopathology*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Young Adult