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Aerobic Exercise, Balance Training, and Ataxia

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT03745248
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : November 19, 2018
Last Update Posted : December 11, 2019
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Joel Stein, MD, Columbia University

Brief Summary:

The first aim is to show aerobic training improves degenerative cerebellar patients functionally

The second aim is to compare the effects of balance and aerobic training on degenerative cerebellar disease.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Ataxia Spino Cerebellar Degeneration Spinocerebellar Ataxias Behavioral: Aerobic training Behavioral: Balance Training Not Applicable

Detailed Description:

Individuals with degenerative cerebellar disease (DCD) exhibit gradual loss of coordination resulting in impaired balance, gait deviations, and severe, progressive disability. With no available disease-modifying medications, balance training is the primary treatment option to improve motor skills and functional performance.

Aerobic training, on the other hand, may modify DCD progression as evident from animal data. Compared to sedentary controls, aerobically trained DCD rats have enhanced lifespan, motor function, and cerebellar Purkinje cell survival. Numerous animal studies also document that aerobic training has a direct, favorable effect on the brain that includes production of neurotrophic hormones, enhancement of neuroplasticity mechanisms, and protection from neurotoxins.

The effects of aerobic training in humans with DCD are relatively unknown, despite these encouraging animal data. A single study to date has evaluated the benefits of aerobic exercise on DCD in humans, and this was a secondary outcome of the study. Although participants performed limited aerobic training during the study, modest functional benefits were still detected.

The main objective of this project will be to compare the benefits of aerobic versus balance training in DCD. The investigators hypothesize that both aerobic and balance training will improve function in DCD subjects, but that the mechanisms in which these improvements occur differ.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 20 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Intervention Model Description: Single blind randomized control trial
Masking: Single (Outcomes Assessor)
Masking Description: The outcome assessor will know that the participant has received balance or aerobic training, but will not be aware of which group the participant belonged
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Effects of Aerobic Exercise on Degenerative Cerebellar Disease
Actual Study Start Date : November 14, 2018
Actual Primary Completion Date : June 9, 2019
Actual Study Completion Date : October 14, 2019

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Aerobic Training
Participants will be given a stationary exercise bike for home use. They will be instructed to use the exercise bike five times a week for thirty-minute sessions. The exercise intensity prescription will be based on the subject's VO2max determined on pre-test day. The exercise program will start at 60% of intensity per session, and then will be increased by steps of 5% intensity every 2 sessions until participants reach 30 minutes of training at 80% intensity. Participants will be contacted weekly by e-mail or phone to answer any questions about the exercise protocol and will be instructed to log each training session. Subjects will record duration of exercise, perceived exertion, average heart rate, maximum heart rate, and distance.
Behavioral: Aerobic training
Aerobic training on stationary bicycle for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week for 1 month

Active Comparator: Balance Training
A physical therapist will tailor a home balance training program for each participant based on pre-training capabilities. Subjects will be asked to perform exercises five times a week for thirty-minute sessions. Both dynamic and static exercises will be performed in sitting and standing positions. Exercises will start with stabilizing in a challenging static position and progress to dynamic arm and leg movements in the same or modified position. Participants will be contacted weekly by e-mail or phone to answer any questions about the exercise protocol and will be required to log their exercise effort in terms of frequency and level of balance challenge. Individuals will be instructed to perform more difficult exercises if balance challenge scores are low.
Behavioral: Balance Training
Standard of care

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Change in SARA score [ Time Frame: 1 month ]
    Ataxia severity will be measured using the Scale for the Assessment and Rating of Ataxia (SARA).SARA evaluates the degree of ataxia by measuring gait, stance, sitting balance, speech, finger-chase test, nose-finger test, fast alternating movements, and heel-shin test.

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Change in gait speed [ Time Frame: 1 month ]
    For the walking assessment, participants will walk as fast as possible on a 10-meter runway six times, and the investigators will average the times of trials 3-6 to determine gait speed expressed in meters/second.

  2. Change in static balance [ Time Frame: 1 month ]
    Static standing balance will be assessed by measuring postural sway during two, one-minute trials. Participants will stand with arms crossed over their chest and feet shoulder-width apart under two conditions: eyes open and eyes closed. Data will be collected using Bertec's dual split-belt treadmill (Bertec, Columbus, OH) embedded with force plates. Balance deficits will be calculated as the magnitude of postural sway (sway amplitude) using custom Nexus and Bodybuilder software (Vicon, Denver, CO).

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Diagnosed with spinocerebellar ataxia
  • Cerebellar atrophy on MRI
  • Prevalence of ataxia on clinical exam
  • Ability to safely ride a stationary exercise bike

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Other neurologic conditions
  • Heart disease
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Medical instability

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT03745248

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United States, New York
Columbia University/New York Presbyterian
New York, New York, United States, 10035
Sponsors and Collaborators
Columbia University
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Principal Investigator: Joel Stein, MD Columbia University
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Responsible Party: Joel Stein, MD, Clinical investigator, Columbia University Identifier: NCT03745248    
Other Study ID Numbers: AAAR5381
First Posted: November 19, 2018    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: December 11, 2019
Last Verified: December 2019
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: No

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Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: No
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No
Keywords provided by Joel Stein, MD, Columbia University:
Degenerative cerebellar disease
Aerobic Exercise
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Cerebellar Ataxia
Spinocerebellar Ataxias
Spinocerebellar Degenerations
Cerebellar Diseases
Neurologic Manifestations
Nervous System Diseases
Brain Diseases
Central Nervous System Diseases
Spinal Cord Diseases
Heredodegenerative Disorders, Nervous System
Neurodegenerative Diseases
Genetic Diseases, Inborn