Effectiveness of physiotherapy for adults with cerebellar dysfunction: a systematic review
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Objective: To systematically review the literature investigating the effectiveness of physiotherapy in adults with cerebellar dysfunction and to document treatment strategies currently employed in the physiotherapy management of this patient population. Data sources: Eight electronic databases were searched to source English-language studies published up to December 2007. Secondary searching of reference lists was also undertaken. Review methods: Studies were included if they used a quantitative research design to investigate the effect of physiotherapy on adults with diagnosed cerebellar dysfunction. Three reviewers were involved in study selection. Eligible studies were assessed for methodological quality. Data pertaining to the participants, interventions received, outcomes measured, and the effectiveness of the intervention were systematically extracted and synthesised in a narrative format. Results: Nine studies were included in the review. The majority of the studies (n = 7) were case studies or case series. The median quality score was 8/16 (range 4-10). The studies were heterogeneous in terms of patient characteristics, interventions received and outcomes measured. All studies reported positive effects of physiotherapy over a range of outcomes measured, in particular balance, gait and function. Conclusion: There is some evidence that supports the effectiveness of physiotherapy in adults with cerebellar dysfunction. However, these results need to be interpreted with caution due to the low volume, quality and clinical applicability of this evidence. There is a need for further high-quality research in this area.