Bulk Action Robotic Gait Training Improves Motor Skills and Quality of Life in Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia

Abstract: BACKGROUND: Gait impairment, balance problems and falls have a negative impact on independence in ADL and quality of life of patients affected by Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP). Since no pharmacological options are available, treatments rely mostly on rehabilitation therapy, although almost no data on this topic exist. Given the demonstrated effectiveness of robotics in improving gait and balance in various neurological diseases, aim of this study is to test the effectiveness of a robotic-aided program of gait training on balance, walking ability and quality of life in adult subjects affected by uncomplicated HSP. METHODS: Thirteen patients affected by uncomplicated HSP were subjected to a six-week robotic-aided gait training protocol. Participants underwent a battery of 3 walking test, 1 balance test and 2 quality of life questionnaires. RESULTS: At the end of the treatment a significant improvement of balance, walking ability and quality of life was observed in almost all the tests. The improvements were maintained over a two-month follow-up period. CONCLUSIONS: Our study indicates that a robotic gait training is long term effective in improving balance and walking ability with a positive impact on quality of life in patients affected by uncomplicated form of HSP. As currently there is no specific treatment to prevent or reverse HSP progression, our contribution would be significant for the development of exercise recommendations in this rare disease.

Citation: NeuroRehabilitation, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 93-99, 2015