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Muscle Nerve. 1997 Oct;20(10):1242-8.

Safety and efficacy of strength training in patients with sporadic inclusion body myositis.

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Neuromuscular Diseases Section, NINDS, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


We studied the effects of a 12-week progressive resistance strength training program in weakened muscles of 5 patients with sporadic inclusion body myositis (IBM). Strength was evaluated with Medical Research Council (MRC) scale ratings and quantitative isometric and dynamic tests. Changes in serum creatine kinase (CK), lymphocyte subpopulations, muscle size (determined by magnetic resonance imaging), and histology in repeated muscle biopsies were examined before and after training. After 12 weeks, the values of repetition maximum improved in the least weakened muscles, 25-120% from baseline. This dynamic effect was not captured by MRC or isometric muscle strength measurements. Serum CK, B cells, T-cell subsets, and NK cells remained unchanged. Repeat muscle biopsies did not reveal changes in the number and degree of degenerating fibers or inflammation. The size of the trained muscles did not change. We conclude that a supervised progressive resistance training program in IBM patients can lead to gains in dynamic strength of the least weak muscles without causing muscle fatigue and muscle injury or serological, histological, and immunological abnormalities. Even though the functional significance of these gains is unclear, this treatment modality is a safe and perhaps overlooked means of rehabilitation of IBM patients.

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