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Gait analysis in cerebellar ataxia and hereditary spastic paraparesis

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    Gait analysis in cerebellar ataxia and hereditary spastic paraparesis



  • Contact name

    Alisdair McNeill

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    Sheffield Childrens Hospital

  • Duration of Study in the UK

    5 years, 0 months, 1 days

  • Research summary

    Cerebellar ataxia is a condition in which a part of the brain called the cerebellum (which coordinates movement) is not working properly. This results in symptoms of unsteady walking, hand tremor and slurred speech. Hereditary spastic paraparesis is a genetic condition in which the legs become stiff and weak. There are many different genetic causes of cerebellar ataxia and hereditary spastic paraparesis. The symptoms caused to the patient by the different types of cerebellar ataxia or spastic paraparesis are often very similar and it can be difficult for doctors to identify the cause based on symptoms and physical examination. In this study we will explore the ability of gait analysis techniques to distinguish between a type of cerebellar ataxia which causes only ataxia (called SCA6) and a type of ataxia which causes spasticity and ataxia (SPG7). The gait analysis involves walking between 2 rows of sensors, the information is automatically captured and analysed by a computer. We will compare the gait analysis results from the 2 different types of ataxia (SCA6, SPG7) with the results from people with hereditary spastic paraparesis and healthy people. This will establish whether or not gait analysis is a useful technique to help in the diagnosis of ataxia. We will also repeat the gait analysis at 2 time points, several months apart, to see if changes in ataxia patients walking can track the progression of their condition. There are currently no tests which can measure progression and worsening of ataxia and so this would be very valuable in clinical practice. We will also ask participants to wear a small Physical Activity Monitor (PAM), which measures what types of activity people are doing, for 7 days. This technique may also help us measure the progression and severity of a patients ataxia.

  • REC name

    North West - Liverpool Central Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    23 May 2016

  • REC opinion

    Further Information Favourable Opinion