Physiotherapy is widely used as a therapeutic approach in spinocerebellar ataxias, but powerful clinical studies into the efficacy of this treatment approach are scarce. Recently, however, a study investigating the effect of physiotherapy on patients with spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7) found that it had significant effects.

The study, which was conducted by researchers in Mexico, was the first of its kind. It evaluated the clinical and biochemical features of 18 patients with spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7). The participants were split into an intensive training group, a moderate training group and a non-training (control) group. Participants in the training groups followed a 24-week adapted exercise training program focused on the maintenance of motor control, coordination exercises, gait re-education, dynamic and static balance, physical conditioning, and muscular strengthening.

The results indicated that both moderate and intense training groups showed improvements in their clinical symptoms including in their standing, walking, speaking and coordination. In both groups there were also decreases in biomarkers associated with SCA7 compared to the control group, including those related to cerebellar manifestations and oxidative stress.

The authors conclude that their findings suggest physiotherapy has an overall beneficial effect on the general health condition of the patients with SCA7.

Neurorehabilitation therapy has been studied in spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 in Cuba by some of the same researchers and was reported to have positive effects in this condition too. Further information about the benefits of physiotherapy in ataxia can be found in the Ataxia UK medical guidelines.