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Date of Award


Degree Type

Capstone Project (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

First Advisor

Laurie Lundy-Ekman, PhD, PT

Second Advisor

Sherly L. Sanders PhD


Background and Purpose. The lack of a valid and reliable standardized assessment tool for cerebellar ataxia has limited the ability of the health care professional to quantifiably document the progress and outcomes of patients with this condition. The purpose of this study was to identify whether the International Ataxia Rating Scale (lCARS) impairment measure is a clinically relevant assessment tool, by testing whether ICARS scores correlate with cerebellar ataxia patient's function.

Subjects. Nine (4 males, 5 females) community dwelling adults with a diagnosis of cerebellar or spinocerebellar ataxia (CA / SCA) participated. Potential volunteers were contacted by the Oregon Health and Sciences University Movement Disorders clinic and by the leader of a CA support group in Albany, Oregon. Volunteers contacted the investigators with consent to participate in . the study. Subject ages range from 38-74 with a mean age of 59 (SD ±l2).

Methods. ICARS total scores and section scores were correlated and regressed with the Physical Performance Test (PPT) total score and investigator determined category scores. Results. The ICARS total scores were correlated with PPT total scores (r= -0.897, P=O.OO 1), ICARS posture and gait section (items 1-7) with PPT posture/gait items (5-7) (r=-0.916, P=O.0005), and ICARS limb function section (items 8-14) with PPT upper limb items (1-4) (r=0.662, P=0.052).

Discussion and Conclusion. The functional validity of the ICARS is supported through the strong and significant correlation with the PPT.


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