Muscle stimulation through focal vibrations produced by a specialized device may prevent further deterioration of motor function in children with cerebellar ataxia, but not in Friedreich’s ataxia patients, according to a small study.
The study, “Non-invasive Focal Mechanical Vibrations Delivered by Wearable Devices: An Open-Label Pilot Study in Childhood Ataxia,” was published in the journal Frontiers in Neurology.
Friedreich’s ataxia belongs to a group of disorders known as childhood ataxia, characterized by the development of movement dyscoordination (ataxia) during childhood or early adolescence. According to the study, it is estimated that 26 in 100,000 children have some form of childhood ataxia.
Patients with Friedreich’s ataxia have progressive nerve and muscle damage, causing movement dyscoordination and muscle weakness, which affects not only the limbs, but also the eyes, hearing, and speech.
There is increasing evidence that muscle stimulation with vibrations induces changes in motor nerve circuits, which can lead to improved motor control and function if administrated repeatedly.
Non-invasive focal mechanical vibrations (NIFMV), usually delivered through electromechanical-based devices, are designed to improve motor control and balance in several neurological diseases.
Recent advances in nanotechnology have led to the development of a device that transforms minimal temperature variations into mechanical energy (vibrations).
Equistasi is a registered medical nanodevice for NIFMV, consisting of a transparent patch with a rectangular plate composed of nanotechnology fibers in the center.