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Brain. 1979 Sep;102(3):461-82.

Quantitative analysis of stance in late cortical cerebellar atrophy of the anterior lobe and other forms of cerebellar ataxia.


(1) Methods have been developed to measure, analyse and document postural sway. The main parameters studied were: average sway amplitude; length of the sway path per unit time; sway direction and sway position histograms; and the frequency spectra of the antero-posterior and lateral sway components. (2) Postural ataxia was quantitatively studied in three groups of patients with cerebellar lesions: (a) late atrophy of the anterior lobe, (b) tumours of the cerebellar hemisphere and (c) tumours within the vestibulo-cerebellum. Characteristic differences were found. (3) Patients with anterior lobe lesion show a specific 3 Hz postural tremor in the antero-posterior direction. The tremor can be evoked by sudden destabilization in incipient cases. Less characteristic and smaller in amplitude is a mainly lateral sway component with an average frequency of 0.5 Hz. This is also seen in cases with spinal ataxia. Visual stabilization of posture is frequently preserved. Its amount does not correlate with general instability of posture. Tremor and characteristically exaggerated intersegmental responses between head, trunk, hips and legs are interpreted as the consequence of hyper-excitability of postural reflexes in these patients. (4) Patients with lesions of the hemispheres show only slight postural instability without directional preference. Their sway parameters with eyes open are within the 2 sigma range of normals and there is no significant difference from normals in these parameters even when the eyes are closed. Therefore these patients cannot be distinguished from normals by means of their platform recordings. (5) Two patients with posterior vermal and flocculo-nodular lesions were very unstable without preferred axis or frequency of instability. In contrast to the anterior lobe group the instability was characterized by the absence of intersegmental movements.

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