NIH Research Festival
INTRODUCTION: Kennedy’s Disease (KD) is an X-linked neuromuscular disorder caused by a polyglutamine repeat expansion in the androgen receptor. KD causes progressive muscle weakness, balance and sensory impairments with degeneration of motor neurons, muscle, and sensory neurons. These changes often lead to limitations in mobility and greater dependence on caregivers. OBJECTIVE: To identify the relationship between balance, strength, and functional abilities of individuals with KD compared to healthy controls. METHODS: Fifty individuals with KD completed the study. The Modified Test of Sensory Interaction on Balance mCTSIB (Neurocom, Inc) was performed to investigate sensory control of balance, and the Quantitative Muscle Analysis (QMA) evaluated strength. The Adult Myopathy Assessment Tool (AMAT) was performed to assess functional ability. RESULTS: Compared to healthy controls, individuals with KD showed impaired sensory balance control and impaired calf strength. There were significant correlations between balance and strength and also between balance and function in the patient group. Those with more balance impairment were weaker and displayed lower function (as determined by AMAT performance). DISCUSSION: In our cohort, poor sensory balance control was associated with poor functional performance. Strength partially explained poor sensory balance control. Clinical measures that identify sensory/proprioceptive impairments should be explored in future research to determine their contribution to balance deficits and their role on risk of falls.
Scientific Focus Area: Neuroscience
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