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Effects of a Home-Based Upper Limb Training Program in Patients With Multiple Sclerosis: A Randomized Controlled Trial

      Abstract

      Objective

      To evaluate the effects of a home-based upper limb training program on arm function in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Additionally, the effects of this program on manual dexterity, handgrip strength, and finger prehension force were analyzed.

      Design

      Randomized, single-blind controlled trial.

      Setting

      Home based.

      Participants

      Patients with a clinical diagnosis of MS acknowledging impaired manual ability (N=37) were randomized into 2 groups.

      Interventions

      Patients in the experimental group were included in a supervised home-based upper limb training program for 8 weeks twice a week. Patients in the control group received information in the form of a leaflet with a schedule of upper limb exercise training.

      Main Outcome Measures

      The primary outcome measure was arm function (motor functioning assessed using the finger tapping test and a functional measure, the Action Research Arm Test). The secondary outcome measures were manual dexterity assessed with the Purdue Pegboard Test and handgrip strength and finger prehension force evaluated with a handgrip and a pinch dynamometer, respectively.

      Results

      After 8 weeks, a significant between-group improvement (P<.05) was found on the Action Research Arm Test bilaterally and the finger tapping test in the most affected upper limb. The secondary outcomes also improved in the most affected limb in the experimental group.

      Conclusions

      An 8-week home-based intervention program focused on upper limbs twice a week improved arm function and physiologic variables with a primary focus on the more affected extremity in patients with MS compared with the control group.

      Keywords

      List of abbreviations:

      MS (multiple sclerosis)
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