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Community exercise is feasible for neuromuscular diseases and can improve aerobic capacity

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Mike TrenellORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Copyright © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on behalf of the American Academy of Neurology. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this phase 2 trial was to ascertain the feasibility and effect of community-based aerobic exercise training for people with 2 of the more common neuromuscular diseases: Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A (CMT) and inclusion body myositis (IBM). METHODS: A randomized single-blinded crossover trial design was used to compare a 12-week aerobic training program using recombinant exercise bicycles compared to a control period. The training occurred 3 times per week in community gyms local to the participants. Support was available from trained gym staff and a research physiotherapist. The 2 disease groups were analyzed separately. The primary outcome measure was peak oxygen uptake (VO2 peak) during a maximal exercise test, with secondary measures of muscle strength, function, and patient-reported measures. RESULTS: Data from 23 people with CMT and 17 people with IBM were included in the analysis. Both disease groups had high levels of participation and demonstrated improvements in VO2 peak, with a moderate effect size in the CMT participants (Cohen d = 0.53) and a strong effect size in the IBM group (Cohen d = 1.72). No major changes were observed in the secondary outcome measures. Qualitative interviews revealed that participants valued the support of gym instructors and the research physiotherapists in overcoming challenges to participation. CONCLUSION: Twelve weeks of aerobic training in community gyms was feasible, safe, and improved aerobic capacity in people with CMT and IBM. CLASSIFICATION OF EVIDENCE: This study provides Class II evidence that for patients with CMT type 1A and IBM, an aerobic training program increases aerobic capacity.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wallace A, Pietrusz A, Dewar E, Dudziec M, Jones K, Hennis P, Sterr A, Baio G, Machado PM, Laura M, Skorupinska I, Skorupinska M, Butcher K, Trenell M, Reilly MM, Hanna MG, Ramdharry GM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Neurology

Year: 2019

Volume: 92

Issue: 15

Pages: e1773-e1785

Print publication date: 09/04/2019

Online publication date: 08/03/2019

Acceptance date: 11/12/2018

Date deposited: 22/05/2019

ISSN (print): 0028-3878

ISSN (electronic): 1526-632X

Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins


DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000007265

PubMed id: 30850441


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