is cbd oil good for cerebellar ataxia

Noncontact Boxing Improves Movement in Parkinson, Riluzole's Lack of Effect in Spincerebellar Ataxia, Positive Impact of Cannabis in Dystonia

This week Neurology News Network covered a trio of abstracts from MDS Virtual Congress that included the design of a noncontact boxing exercise program in patients with Parkinson disease, lack of evidence for riluzole in spinocerebellar ataxia, and the effects of medical cannabis in improving dystonia symptoms.

Welcome to this special edition of Neurology News Network. I’m Marco Meglio. Please excuse our appearance this week as a majority of the US workforce, including the NeurologyLive team, moves to working remote as we come together to help reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus. This week’s episode was centered around the recently concluded MDS Virtual Congress.

The design protocol of a trial aimed at identifying if a noncontact boxing exercise program can improve movement and quality of life for individuals with Parkinson disease (PD), has been presented MDS 2021. The trial is dubbed FIGHT-PD. It has received ethics approval, and screening has commenced, with some interim results expected to be available before the end of 2021. According to a release, COVID-19 delayed the start of the study, but it is expected to finish in September 2021. FIGHT-PD is planned to take place over the course of 15 weeks, consisting of 3 workouts per week lasting 30-60 minutes. They are to be conducted in a trio of 4-week blocks separated by an active recovery week. The first block focuses on technique; the second block escalates the physical intensity, and the third block adds cognitive challenges. Feasibility details including recruitment, retention, and adherence rates will also be measured by the group.

A recently conducted multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial found no evidence that riluzole (Rilutek; Sanofi), an FDA-approved drug for patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, can improve clinical or radiological outcomes in patients with spinocerebellar ataxia type 2. Investigators also concluded however, that quantitative measures were more sensitive to change than clinical outcomes and correlated with cerebellar atrophy. Between January 2018 and June 2019, a total of 45 patients with SCA2 were randomized to treatment with 50-mg riluzole (n = 22) or placebo (n = 23) for a 12-month period. Coarelli and colleagues used proportion of patients with 1-point improvement on Scale for the Assessment and Rating of Ataxia (SARA) score as the primary end point. Between both groups, investigators found no significance difference in proportion of patients with 1-point SARA score improvement, as well as the variation of SARA score at month 12.

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Data from a real-life study of medical cannabis (MC) on adults with dystonia were presented at MDS Virtual Congress, with investigators concluding MC treatment seemed to improve dystonia symptoms, as well as related pain. A total of 23 patients with a mean age of 52.7 years were interviewed for the small, retrospective pilot study, including patients with focal dystonia (n = 6), multifocal dystonia (n = 1), segmental dystonia (n = 5), generalized dystonia (n = 9), and hemidystonia. A positive correlation was identified between percentage of product tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and total THC daily dose and subjective improvement of dystonia, P = 0.034, and P = 0.012, respectively, reflecting that patients intaking a higher level of THC showed significant improvement when compared to those consuming lower doses.

What is Cerebellar Hypoplasia?

What’s wrong with Boogie? We get asked that question a lot, and of course we do, Boogie is pretty unique! While we could take offense to the WAY these questions are often asked, we know that most questions present a teachable moment. And one teachable moment could save the life of a homeless pet. So we’re taking one of those moments right now.

If you are new to our social channels or just searching for answers about a wobbly dog, here’s what we’ve learned about Boogie’s disability since adopting him in 2015. We hope this sheds a little light on Cerebellar Hypoplasia and pets with disabilities!

What is Boogie’s condition?
Boogie has Cerebellar Hypoplasia (CH), and is generally rated as mild-moderate-severe. Boogie falls into the moderate category.

What is it?
Cerebellar hypoplasia, a neurological condition in which parts of the cerebellum (the largest part of the brain) have not completely developed. There are many causes that can lead to this condition including genetics, infection, malnutrition, poisoning or injury in utero.

Symptoms of cerebellar hypoplasia can be from mild to severe and include: head bobbing, high steps, wobbly gait, tremors, clumsiness, wide stance, knuckling over on paws, falling and flipping over. Symptoms typically become visible in puppies when they begin to stand and walk, around six weeks of age. In kittens, CH presents much sooner. Symptoms range from mild, moderate to severe.

Treatment / Modifications:
There is no cure for CH, but every animal is different and benefits for different therapies and modifications. Boogie’s CH is moderate, but due to his extremely small size, he faces other challenges that could cause injury, so we do have a few rules for him around our house:

  1. No tile floors. When he was a puppy, he could navigate it a little, but when his legs grew into the akward, tiny giraffe legs they are now, he stopped going for it. He is great on carpet and other softer surfaces and has plenty of that to roam around on.
  2. Low bowls for food. You would think a raised bowl would work better for him, but with all the “rocking” he does, he bumps his snout on the rim and that hurts. So, a flat dish works best for Boogie. Or being hand fed, because who doesn’t love that?!
  3. Potty time / bath time is 100% hand on. Boogie can’t walk out of our house alone because of surfaces and steps, so we carry him out in a little “go bag” for every potty. He will use potty pads, although his aim isn’t 100% (LOL), but we prefer to give him the pack experience with with everyone outside. He can’t stand up in the bath either and he’s so tiny we don’t even let him sit in there without holding him.
  4. No jumping. At 2.2 pounds, he’s not able to jump onto the furniture, but he does try to jump down, which is a big NO.
  5. Going for walks. We tried to train him on the leash (a baby ferret harness was the only thing that fit him) but it wasn’t in the cards. He rides in a stroller or in a go bag when we go on walks with the pack because it is safer, especially from traffic and other animals.
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6. Wheelchair/Cart. We are in search for a dog wheelchair/cart that fits Boogie’s stature and body physics! He can walk on his own, but since his second hip surgery, we find that he needs a little extra support & confidence when outside playing. A cart would help strengthen his back legs and allow him to run and play a bit longer than he chooses to do on his own. So far, the carts we’ve tried and/or inquired about are all too heavy and not complementary to Boogie’s body size. We hope to find an engineer/3-D printing solution soon!

A few questions we are regularly asked:

Is CH painful? According to our vets, no. If he falls down on a hard surface, yes, that hurts, and it could cause serious injury. But just existing with CH is not painful.

Does Boogie have seizures? No. The shakiness is called internal tremors. It stops when he’s sleeping.

Will CBD oil make him stop wobbling? We have asked our vets and many other CH pet parents about using CBD oil, and continue to get the same answer, no. CBD oil does not make the cerebellum grow to the full size and function. So, it doesn’t ‘cure’ the internal tremors caused by CH. We know other CH pets who are on CBD oil for other issues, such as seizures or arthritis, and although it works great to subdue seizures and other pain, these pets are still wobbly because of their CH.

Are we making fun of him? Absolutely not. Every time Boogie wobbles across the room, makes a leap into his bed, or does anything, we celebrate like it’s the first time he’s done it. We are amazed by the way he navigates his BIG world, and love sharing his daily achievements and personality quirks! Our followers tell us all the time that Boogie brightens their day, and we’ve even inspired some people to seek out CH or other special needs pets to adopt!

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Other pets with Cerebellar Hypoplasia
Every cat or dog with CH is different. If you would like to see how other dogs and cats thrive Cerebellar Hypoplasia, here are just a few that we follow on Instagram. You can also search #cerebellarhypoplasia on Instagram to find more wobbly pets!

Wobbly Jericho (IG: @wobbly_jericho)

Nodder the Wonder Husky (IG: @nodderthewonderhusky)

Arnie the Wobbly Pup (IG: @arniethewobblyput)

Kitty Cat Chronicles (IG: @kittycatchronicles)

Wobbly Cats (IG: wobblycats)

Still have questions? Ask away in the comments, send us a message on Facebook or Instagram at: @littleboogieshoes or send us an email! We will do our best to answer you promptly!

**DISCLAIMER: Boogie and his humans are not doctors. The information we’ve shared here is what we have learned through our doctors, our own research and other CH pet families. If you suspect your pet may have CH or is presenting symptoms of anything out of the ordinary, please take them to your veterinarian immediately.