Improving balance and reducing risk of falls is a relevant issue in Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS). The present study aims to quantify the effect of a mixed training program on balance in patients with PWS.
Eleven adult PWS patients (mean age: 33.8 ± 4.3 years; mean BMI: 43.3 ± 5.9 Kg/m2) attended a 2-week training program including balance exercises during their hospital stay. At discharge, Group 1 (6 patients) continued the same exercises at home for 6 months, while Group 2 (5 patients) quitted the program. In both groups, a low-calorie, well-balanced diet of 1.200 kcal/day was advised. They were assessed at admission (PRE), after 2 weeks (POST1) and at 6-month (POST2). The assessment consisted of a clinical examination, video recording and 60-second postural evaluation on a force platform. Range of center of pressure (CoP) displacement in the antero-posterior direction (RANGEAP index) and the medio-lateral direction (RANGEML index) and its total trajectory length were computed.
At POST1, no significant changes in all of the postural parameters were observed. At completion of the home program (POST2), the postural assessment did not reveal significant modifications. No changes in BMI were observed in PWS at POST2.
Our results showed that a long-term mixed, but predominantly home-based training on PWS individuals was not effective in improving balance capacity. Possible causes of the lack of effectiveness of our intervention include lack of training specificity, an inadequate dose of exercise, an underestimation of the neural and sensory component in planning rehabilitation exercise and failed body weight reduction during the training. Also, the physiology of balance instability in these patients may possibly compose a complex puzzle not affected by our exercise training, mainly targeting muscle weakness.