Effects of balance and gait rehabilitation in cerebellar disease of vascular or degenerative origin

Antonio Nardone, Anna Maria Turcato, Marco Schieppati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To investigate whether the response to rehabilitation differs between patients with abnormalities of balance and gait due to vascular or to degenerative cerebellar disease. Methods: We reviewed the outcome of 27 cerebellar patients. Fourteen patients with vascular and 13 with degenerative cerebellar disease underwent a 3-week inpatient physical therapy program for 5 days/week, 90 min/day, focused on balance and gait. Body sway area during quiet stance with eyes open and eyes closed, and gait velocity, stride length, cadence and step width were recorded. The Berg Balance Scale (BBS) and Functional Independence Measure (FIM) were administered. All tests were performed before and after treatment. Results: Before treatment, both groups showed comparable values in all sway and gait variables and in BBS. FIM score was higher in degenerative than vascular patients. After treatment, a significant reduction of body sway area was observed under both visual conditions in both groups. Gait velocity, stride length and step width improved more in the vascular than in the degenerative patient group. BBS improved in both groups. FIM improved to a larger extent in the vascular patients. Conclusion: Short-term treatment may not be sufficient to produce definite improvement in locomotion in degenerative as much as occurs in vascular patients, even if clinical and functional signs of balance improve in both groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-245
Number of pages13
JournalRestorative Neurology and Neuroscience
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Balance
  • Cerebellum
  • Gait
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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