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Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2012 Nov-Dec;26(9):1080-8. doi: 10.1177/1545968312441682. Epub 2012 Apr 27.

Strength: a relevant link to functional performance in the neurodegenerative disease of adrenomyeloneuropathy.

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Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore, MD, USA.



With progressive abnormalities in leg strength, tone, and sensation, adrenomyeloneuropathy (AMN) is a differential diagnosis for multiple sclerosis and hereditary spastic paraparesis. AMN pathology has been linked to weakness, making it a relevant model to evaluate the relationship between neurodegeneration and disability. Quantifying symptom severity in AMN is essential for treatment development in rehabilitative management.


To identify deficits in body functions, activity, and participation of people with AMN and provide a practical framework for evaluating the severity of disability.


Cohort analysis of 142 participants with AMN.


of body functions (leg strength, vibration sensation, range of motion, and spasticity), activity (walk velocity, standing balance, Timed Up and Go, and Sit-to-Stand Time), and participation (6-Minute Walk) are evaluated. Regression analyses identify relationships between the measures. A staging framework (mild, moderate, and severe) reflects the continuum of disability. Finally, an analysis of variance/Kruskal-Wallis was used for between-stage and sex differences among the variables.


Strength is the strongest correlate for the 5 measures of activity and participation. Staging based on weakness distinguishes 3 levels of severity along a continuum of disability. Differences between the sexes are more prevalent earlier in the continuum but show equally severe deficits in the last stage.


In AMN, staging based on degrees of weakness provides a practical means to characterize the severity of common deficits in body functions as well as activity and participation at each stage, to direct the evaluation. Such information could help clinicians develop more effective rehabilitative techniques.

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