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Comparing computer-aided therapy with conventional physiotherapy in Parkinson’s disease: An equivalence study

: Unterreiner, Martin; Biedermann, Carolin; el-Fahem, Robert; John, Michael; Klose, Stefan; Haas, Christian T.; Wächter, Tobias

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Neurology Asia 24 (2019), No.4, pp.309-315
ISSN: 1823-6138
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer FOKUS ()
equivalence study; idiopathic Parkinson-Syndrome; computer-aided rehabilitation; LSVT-BIG

Objective: The present study investigated, whether computer-aided therapy in patients with Parkinson’s disease is equivalent/non-inferior to conventional Lee Silvermann Voice Treatment (LSVT)-BIG-therapy in respect to motor outcome as measured by the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (MDS-UPDRS-III) and quality of life as measured by the Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire (PDQ-39).
Methods: In this controlled, rater-blinded study, 34 patients were included and 24 patients randomized to train seven standard exercises of the BIG-therapy either by a computer (BeBIG-group) or by a certified LSVT-BIG therapist (ThBIG-group) over four weeks. Equivalence was assessed by comparing the confidence interval of the BeBIG-group to the equivalence margin of the ThBIG-group.
Results: There were no significant group differences in respect to age, disease duration, L-dopa equivalent daily dose or clinical stage of the disease. Both groups profited significantly from the therapy as demonstrated by an improvement in the MDS-UPDRS-III of 9.17 point in the BeBIG-group and of 8.92 points in the ThBIG-group. There was a non-significant decrease in the PDQ-39 of 9.23 points in the BeBIG-group and 4.23 points in the ThBIG-group. However, equivalence could not be demonstrated as the improvement of the BeBIG-group exceeded the confidence interval of the ThBIG-group.
Conclusion: Physical training by a computer as well as by a therapist improves motor symptoms and quality of life in Parkinson’s disease. Both therapies are not equivalent, superiority of the computerized training can however not be concluded, as the study was only designed to test for non-inferiority. Therefore, computerized training can be considered as an add-on-therapy.