The effects of facioscapulohumeral dystrophy and dynamic arm support on upper extremity muscle coordination in functional tasks

J M N Essers*, K Meijer, A A Peters, A Murgia

*Corresponding author for this work

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This study's objective is to understand the effect of muscular weakness in persons with facioscapulohumeral dystrophy as well as the effect of a dynamic arm support on muscle coordination and activity performance, during activities of daily living. People with facioscapulohumeral dystrophy (n=12, 56.0±14.5 years) and healthy controls (n=12, 55.5±13.4 years) performed five simulated daily activity tasks, while unsupported and supported by the Gowing dynamic arm support. Surface electromyography, kinematics, and maximum force output were recorded. Outcomes were calculated for muscle coordination (muscle synergies), maximum muscle activity, movement performance indicators, and upper limb muscular weakness (maximum force output). Muscle coordination was altered and less consistent in persons with facioscapulohumeral dystrophy compared with healthy controls. The dynamic arm support alleviated muscle efforts and affected muscle coordination in both populations. While populations became more similar, the internal consistency of persons with facioscapulohumeral dystrophy remained unaffected and lower than that of healthy controls. Furthermore, the support affected movements' performance in both groups. The maximum force outputs were lower in persons with facioscapulohumeral dystrophy than controls. Muscle coordination differences were presumably the result of individual-specific in muscle weakness and compensatory strategies for dealing with gravity compensation and movement constraints.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-659
Number of pages9
JournalNeuromuscular disorders
Issue number8
Early online date21-Nov-2022
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2023

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