Digital Measures of Postural Sway Quantify Balance Deficits in Spinocerebellar Ataxia

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Movement Disorders : Official Journal of the Movement Disorder Society

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Background: Maintaining balance is crucial for independence and quality of life. Loss of balance is a hallmark of spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA). Objective: The aim of this study was to identify which standing balance conditions and digital measures of body sway were most discriminative, reliable, and valid for quantifying balance in SCA. Methods: Fifty-three people with SCA (13 SCA1,13 SCA2, 14 SCA3, and 13 SCA6) and Scale for Assessment and Rating of Ataxia (SARA) scores 9.28±4.36 and31 healthy controls were recruited. Subjects stood in six test conditions (natural stance, feet together and tandem, each with eyes open [EO] and eyes closed [EC]) with an inertial sensor on their lower back for 30 seconds (x2). We compared test completion rate, test–retest reliability, and areas under the receiver operating characteristic curve(AUC) for seven digital sway measures. Pearson’s correlations related sway with the SARA and the Patient-Reported Outcome Measure of Ataxia (PROM ataxia).Results: Most individuals with SCA (85%–100%) could stand for 30 seconds with natural stance EO or EC, and with feet together EO. The most discriminative digital sway measures (path length, range, area, and root mean square) from the two most reliable and discriminative conditions (natural stance EC and feet together EO)showed intra class correlation coefficients from 0.70 to0.91 and AUCs from 0.83 to 0.93. Correlations of sway with SARA were significant (maximum r=0.65 and 0.73).Correlations with PROM ataxia were mild to moderate(maximum r=0.56 and 0.34). Conclusion: Inertial sensor measures of extent of postural sway in conditions of natural stance EC and feet together stance EO were discriminative, reliable, and valid for monitoring SCA.


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