Machado-Joseph disease (MJD) is the most common spinocerebellar ataxia worldwide. Prevalence is highest in affected remote Aboriginal communities of the Top End of Australia. Aboriginal families with MJD from Groote Eylandt believe ‘staying strong on the inside and outside’ works best to keep them walking and moving around, in accordance with six key domains that form the ‘Staying Strong’ Framework. The aim of this current study was to review the literature to: (1) map the range of interventions/strategies that have been explored to promote walking and moving around (functional mobility) for individuals with MJD and; (2) align these interventions to the ‘Staying Strong’ Framework described by Aboriginal families with MJD.
Searches were conducted in July 2018 in MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsychINFO and Cochrane Databases.
Peer-reviewed studies that (1) included adolescents/adults with MJD, (2) explored the effects of any intervention on mobility and (3) included a measure of mobility, function and/or ataxia were included in the review.
Thirty studies were included. Few studies involved participants with MJD alone (12/30). Most studies explored interventions that aligned with two ‘Staying Strong’ Framework domains, ‘exercising your body’ (n=13) and ‘searching for good medicine’ (n=17). Few studies aligned with the domains having ‘something important to do’ (n=2) or ‘keeping yourself happy’ (n=2). No studies aligned with the domains ‘going country’ or ‘families helping each other’.
Evidence for interventions to promote mobility that align with the ‘Staying Strong’ Framework were focused on staying strong on the outside (physically) with little reflection on staying strong on the inside (emotionally, mentally and spiritually). Findings suggest future research is required to investigate the benefits of lifestyle activity programmes that address both physical and psychosocial well-being for families with MJD.