A randomized pilot study of stochastic vibration therapy in spinocerebellar ataxia

Cerebellum. 2014 Apr;13(2):237-42. doi: 10.1007/s12311-013-0532-5.


Whole body vibration (WBV) is a biomechanical treatment used widely in professional sports and rehabilitation. We examined the effect of stochastic WBV on ataxia in spinocerebellar ataxia types 1, 2, 3, and 6 (SCA 1, 2, 3 and 6) in a single-center double-blind sham-controlled study. Stochastic WBV was applied on four sequent days, each treatment consisting of five stimulus trains of 60-s duration at a frequency of 6.5 Hz and 60-s resting time between stimuli (n = 17). Patients allocated to the sham group received the same treatment with 1 Hz (n = 15). All patients were rated at baseline and after the last treatment using clinical scores (SARA, SCAFI, and INAS). After treatment, we found significant improvements of gait, posture, and speed of speech in the verum group while limb kinetics and ataxia of speech did not respond. Stochastic WBV might act on proprioceptive mechanisms and could also stimulate non-cerebellar/compensatory mechanisms. But at present, the involved cellular mechanism and the presumed neuronal loops cannot be deciphered. Thus, future work is needed to understand the mechanisms of whole body vibration. Finally, the use of stochastic WBV could provide a supplementation to treat ataxia in SCA and can be combined with physiotherapeutical motor training.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Gait
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Posture
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Speech
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxias / therapy*
  • Stochastic Processes
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vibration / therapeutic use*