Does integrated cognitive and balance (dual-task) training improve balance and reduce falls risk in individuals with cerebellar ataxia?

Med Hypotheses. 2019 May;126:149-153. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2019.03.001. Epub 2019 Mar 5.


Frequent falls in people with cerebellar ataxia (CA) is a significant problem Therefore, an intervention that could improve balance and reduce the number of falls is of paramount importance from the patients' perspective. Combining cognitive training with physical training to improve balance is a new approach for reducing the risk of falls in patient populations who are at risk for falls. To determine if adding structured cognitive demands to conventional balance and coordination training we designed the Cognitive-coupled Intensive Balance Training (CIBT) program. We found that the more intensive and focused CIBT intervention reduced dual-task cost, improved balance, and reduced the number of falls in a sample of individuals with CA. We hypothesize that (1) CIBT will improve balance and reduce falls; and (2) CIBT will be a cost-effective treatment option for improving balance and reduce falls. To test these hypotheses, we propose conducting a randomized controlled trial (RCT) with economic evaluation . This paper reports the findings of our study testing the feasibility of the CIBT program, rationale for testing our hypothesis and an overview of our future study design to test the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the CIBT program.

Keywords: Balance training; Cerebellar ataxia; Dual-task; Fall prevention and economic evaluation; Feasibility.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cerebellar Ataxia / therapy*
  • Cognition
  • Cognition Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postural Balance*
  • Quality of Life
  • Research Design
  • Resistance Training
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult