Motor Function Improvement in Children with Ataxia Receiving Interval Rehabilitation, Including Vibration-Assisted Hometraining: A Retrospective Study

Kyriakos Martakis*, Christina Stark, Evelyn Alberg, Christiane Bossier, Oliver Semler, Eckhard Schoenau, Ibrahim Duran

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background Physiotherapy, including vibration-assisted therapy, has been proven to be effective for patients with ataxic cerebral palsy. Herewith, we studied the effect of a functional, goal-oriented interval rehabilitation program, including vibration-assisted home-training on the motor function of children with congenital ataxias. Patients 45 children (mean age 7.7 years, SD 4.70) with ataxia, having received a 6-month home-based side-alternating vibration-assisted therapy combined with intensive, goal-oriented, functional rehabilitation intervals, were included in the study, classified according to the progressive or non-progressive ataxia character. Method Retrospective analysis of the prospectively collected data of the registry of the Cologne rehabilitation program "Auf die Beine". Motor abilities have been assessed prior to the intervention (M0), after 6 months of home-training (M6) as well as in a follow-up 6 months later (M12). We performed a gait analysis, a 1-minute walking test (1-MWT), and the Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM-66). Results The GMFM-66 improvement (M6-M0 vs. M12-M6) was statistically significant with median improvement of 2.4 points (non-progressive) and 2.9 points (progressive) respectively, and clinically relevant. The 1-MWT improvement was statistically significant and clinically relevant for non-progressive ataxia. Conclusion The intensive training, including vibration-assisted therapy significantly improved the motor function of children with ataxia. Six months later the skills were preserved in children with progressive ataxia and could be further developed in non-progressive forms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-312
Number of pages9
JournalKlinische Padiatrie
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • ataxia
  • physiotherapy
  • whole body vibration
  • gross motor function
  • neuromuscular interaction

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