Event Title

Use of Dynamical Systems Theory to Develop Physical Therapy Interventions for a Patient with Alcohol-related Cerebellar Ataxia: A Retrospective Case Report

Author/ Authors/ Presenter/ Presenters/ Panelists:

Hannah Ketterling, Governors State UniversityFollow

Start Date

4-12-2019 4:00 PM

End Date

4-12-2019 6:00 PM

Abstract

Background/purpose: The cerebellum plays an essential role in motor control and coordination.When the cerebellum is damaged, such as from chronic alcohol overuse, the result is ataxia. The purpose of this retrospective case report is to describe how the Dynamical Systems Theory was used to develop physical therapy interventions for a patient with alcohol-related ataxia and cerebellar degeneration.

Case Description: The patient was a 60-year-old African American male who presented to physical therapy with ataxia, poor balance, oculomotor impairments, and cognitive deficits consistent with his diagnosis of alcohol-related ataxia and cortical degeneration. His major goals for physical therapy were to improve his walking and stair navigation, decrease his risk of falls, and improve his ability to perform activities of daily living.

Outcomes: After 12 sessions of physical therapy the patient demonstrated improvements in balance, gait speed, task recall and dual tasking, and had a clinically significant increase in his Lower Extremity Functional Scale score. He could independently navigate 4 steps into his house and reported an overall increase in participation at home.

Discussion: This case report describes the application of the Dynamical Systems Theory of motor control as an approach to developing physical therapy interventions for a patient with alcohol-related ataxia and cerebellar degeneration. The outcomes of this case suggest that physical therapy was overall successful at decreasing this patient’s impairments, enhancing his movement and motor control, and helping the patient to reach his rehabilitation goals using the Dynamical Systems Theory approach.

Faculty / Staff Sponsor

Dr. Roberta OShea

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Apr 12th, 4:00 PM Apr 12th, 6:00 PM

Use of Dynamical Systems Theory to Develop Physical Therapy Interventions for a Patient with Alcohol-related Cerebellar Ataxia: A Retrospective Case Report

Background/purpose: The cerebellum plays an essential role in motor control and coordination.When the cerebellum is damaged, such as from chronic alcohol overuse, the result is ataxia. The purpose of this retrospective case report is to describe how the Dynamical Systems Theory was used to develop physical therapy interventions for a patient with alcohol-related ataxia and cerebellar degeneration.

Case Description: The patient was a 60-year-old African American male who presented to physical therapy with ataxia, poor balance, oculomotor impairments, and cognitive deficits consistent with his diagnosis of alcohol-related ataxia and cortical degeneration. His major goals for physical therapy were to improve his walking and stair navigation, decrease his risk of falls, and improve his ability to perform activities of daily living.

Outcomes: After 12 sessions of physical therapy the patient demonstrated improvements in balance, gait speed, task recall and dual tasking, and had a clinically significant increase in his Lower Extremity Functional Scale score. He could independently navigate 4 steps into his house and reported an overall increase in participation at home.

Discussion: This case report describes the application of the Dynamical Systems Theory of motor control as an approach to developing physical therapy interventions for a patient with alcohol-related ataxia and cerebellar degeneration. The outcomes of this case suggest that physical therapy was overall successful at decreasing this patient’s impairments, enhancing his movement and motor control, and helping the patient to reach his rehabilitation goals using the Dynamical Systems Theory approach.