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Developmental and Evaluation of Physiotherapy Interventions for people with Huntington’s Disease (HD)


  • Dr. Monica Busse
  • Dr. Lori Quinn (Honorary Research Fellow Department of Physiotherapy, School of Healthcare Studies, Cardiff University; Program in Physical Therapy, School of Public Health, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY 10595)
  • Professor Ann Rosser (School of Medicine (Neurology), Cardiff University and Brain Repair Group, School of Biosciences, Cardiff University)

Designing a systematically properly controlled trial of physiotherapy on HD is limited by small sample sizes, inconsistency of intervention content and a paucity of outcome measures. The Cardiff Physiotherapy Group have validated outcomes measures, undertaken qualitative assessment of intervention packages and developed a video based package suitable for home use. The next crucial step is to assess feasibility and acceptability of the developed interventions and gather preliminary efficacy data on the impact of such a home-based physiotherapy-led exercise intervention in individuals with HD.

A single blind Phase II randomised controlled trial of a home based physiotherapy intervention will therefore be conducted. All participants will receive a home based physiotherapy led intervention for 8 weeks at a randomly specified time during the overall monitoring period. This study design will facilitate comparison of a) intervention compared to no-intervention (i.e. control) and b) carry over and adherence with a home based intervention after a set amount of physiotherapy support has been provided. User opinion of the process and benefits of involvement in the program will also be obtained.

Functional outcome and mobility in 48 people with early to mid-stage HD will be assessed using in depth sensitive, human motion analysis systems. Measures of gait, balance and function will be obtained. Fall events will be recorded using prototype automated, wireless kinematic sensors. Clinical measures of function and quality of life will also be obtained. Positive outcome will support methodology and lead to future fully controlled efficacy studies of physiotherapy intervention in HD.