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EBP Compendium: Summary of Systematic Review

Huntington’s Disease Association Inc.
Effectiveness of Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech Pathology for People with Huntington's Disease: A Systematic Review

Bilney, B., Morris, M. E., et al. (2003).
Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, 17(1), 12-24.

Indicators of Review Quality:

The review addresses a clearly focused question No
Criteria for inclusion of studies are provided Yes
Search strategy is described in sufficient detail for replication Yes
Included studies are assessed for study quality Yes
Quality assessments are reproducible No

Description: This is a systematic review of journal articles investigating treatment by speech language pathologists, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists for individuals with Huntington's disease.

Question(s) Addressed:

Question not specified.

Population: Subjects over 18 years of age with a confirmed diagnosis of Huntington’s Disease (HD), evidenced by a positive genetic test or a family history of HD with signs of chorea.

Intervention/Assessment: All treatments or interventions

Number of Studies Included: 3 studies related to speech-language pathology

Years Included: 1966 – May 2002



  • Treatment
    • Speech
      • Only 3 studies were found examining speech-language pathology treatments in individuals with Hunington's disease, one of which pertained to augmentative alternative communication. No conclusions could be drawn due to the limitied number of studies found.
      • "Further research is required to determine the impact of speech pathology on the ability of people with Huntington's disease to communicate." (p. 21).
    • Swallowing
      • Of the three studies addressing speech-language pathology treatments, two examined dysphgia interventions. The authors concluded that "There is some evidence that intervention provided by speech pathologists improves the ability of people with HD to independently feed. Furthermore, there is limited evidence that dysphagia can be improved with intervention" (p. 20).
      • However the authors point out that the the small number of studies and their methodological weaknesses limit the utility of the conclusions.

Keywords: Huntington's Disease

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Added to Compendium: December 2011

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