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Rehabilitation Research and Practice
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 525879, 8 pages
Clinical Study

Effect of Long-Term Climbing Training on Cerebellar Ataxia: A Case Series

1Department of Medicine, University of Fribourg, 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland
2Neurological Center Plein Soleil, 1010 Lausanne, Switzerland
3Department of Mathematics, University of Fribourg, 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland
4Unit of Early Neurorehabilitation, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University Hospital, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland

Received 16 March 2011; Revised 16 August 2011; Accepted 5 September 2011

Academic Editor: Jeffrey Jutai

Copyright © 2011 Stephan Marianne Anke et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Efficient therapy for both limb and gait ataxia is required. Climbing, a complex task for the whole motor system involving balance, body stabilization, and the simultaneous coordination of all 4 limbs, may have therapeutic potential. Objective. To investigate whether long-term climbing training improves motor function in patients with cerebellar ataxia. Methods. Four patients suffering from limb and gait ataxia underwent a 6-week climbing training. Its effect on ataxia was evaluated with validated clinical balance and manual dexterity tests and with a kinematic analysis of multijoint arm and leg pointing movements. Results. The patients increased their movement velocity and achieved a more symmetric movement speed profile in both arm and leg pointing movements. Furthermore, the 2 patients who suffered the most from gait ataxia improved their balance and 2 of the 4 patients improved manual dexterity. Conclusion. Climbing training has the potential to serve as a new rehabilitation method for patients with upper and lower limb ataxia.