STIM A-T Pilot Study

STIM A-T Pilot Study

Research Project information

Principal researcher: Dr Caroline Blanchard
Institute: Medicine, Clinical Neuroscience, Nottingham University
Cost: £20,270 over 6 months
Start Date: 1st of September 2023

What are the researchers proposing to do?
Dr Blanchard and her team will conduct a pilot study called STIM A-T to explore a new approach for reducing involuntary movements in people with ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T). These movements, such as muscle spasms and tremors, greatly affect their daily activities and quality of life and current treatment options are limited, so they looking for non-invasive alternatives.

Recent groundbreaking research has shown that stimulating a nerve in the wrist called the median nerve can reduce motor tics in Tourette syndrome. The team will see if this method can also help to reduce unwanted involuntary movements in individuals with A-T.

The team want to make a meaningful difference in the lives of people living with ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T). Individuals with A-T experience involuntary movements that disrupt their ability to perform everyday tasks and diminish their quality of life.

Current treatment options for these involuntary movements are limited, so they are eager to explore a new, non-invasive approach using Median Nerve Stimulation (MNS), as this may hold promise for individuals with A-T.

How will the research be done?
Participants in the research will have a one-day visit at the University of Nottingham. They will undergo interviews, tests, and assessments to understand how involuntary movements affect their daily lives and their interest in non-invasive treatments. The main part of the study involves Median Nerve Stimulation (MNS), delivered through a wrist-worn device. Participants will experience alternating periods of active stimulation and no stimulation, with the order kept secret. The movements will be tracked, and video recordings will be analyzed by experts. Participants will also provide feedback on comfort and any side effects. Their involvement will help us determine if MNS is feasible, well-tolerated, and effective for reducing unwanted movements in individuals with ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T) and related conditions

How could it make a difference to the lives of those affected by A-T?
This study has the potential to make a significant difference in the lives of people with Ataxia-Telangiectasia (A-T). By exploring the feasibility and effectiveness of Median Nerve Stimulation (MNS) as a non-invasive treatment, this study aims to provide new hope and potential relief for these individuals.

If successful, MNS could offer a non-pharmacological approach to suppressing unwanted movements in A-T. This would be a groundbreaking development, as there are no good treatment options currently. By demonstrating the feasibility and tolerability of MNS, along with preliminary evidence of its effectiveness, this research could pave the way for larger clinical trials.

Ultimately, the findings of this study could lead to improved management of involuntary movements in people with A-T, enhancing their ability to perform daily tasks, engage in social interactions, and improve overall quality of life.