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Nervenarzt. 1998 Dec;69(12):1066-73.

[Local ice application in therapy of kinetic limb ataxia. Clinical assessment of positive treatment effects in patients with multiple sclerosis].

[Article in German]

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Marianne-Strauss-Klinik, Berg-Kempfenhausen.


Upper limb ataxia is one of the most disabling symptoms of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). There are some clinically tested therapeutic strategies, especially with regard to cerebellar tremor. But most of the methods used for treatment of limb ataxia in physiotherapy and occupational therapy are not systematically evaluated, e.g. the effect of local ice applications, as reported by MS patients and therapists, respectively. We investigated 21 MS patients before and in several steps 1 up to 45 min after cooling the most affected forearm. We used a series of 6 tests, including parts of neurological status and activities of daily living as well. At each step skin temperature and nerve conduction velocity were recorded. All tests were documented by video for later offline analysis. Standardized evaluation was done by the investigators and separately by an independent second team, both of them using numeric scales for quality of performance. After local cooling all patients showed a positive effect, especially a reduction of intentional tremor. In most cases this effect lasted 45 min, in some patients even longer. We presume that a decrease in the proprioceptive afferent inflow-induced by cooling-may be the probable cause of this reduction of cerebellar tremor. Patients can use ice applications as a method of treating themselves when a short-time reduction of intention tremor is required, e.g. for typing, signing or self-catheterization.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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