Strengthening exercise can be beneficial for DMD patients in the medium term

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is the most common myopathy in children. It results in a progressive muscle deficit predominantly at the root of the limbs and is accompanied by cardio-respiratory complications leading to death at an early age. According to an old dogma and based only on a few scientific studies in animals, physical exercise would have deleterious effects in DMD and should therefore be avoided. 

American clinicians have revisited this dogma and carried out a study on the effects of muscle strengthening in this population of neuromuscular patients. The study, which involved 10 children with DMD, was carried out in two phases: the first consisting of a gradual increase in the exercise to be performed (here, a work of flexion and extension of the knee in isometric condition and against a resistance of increasing intensity), then a phase carried out at home for three months. The initial phase was very well tolerated, without deleterious effects either on muscle function or on biological parameters (CPK included). Compliance with the training program was satisfactory (85%) and a statistically significant benefit was recorded at the clinical level, both for function (descending steps) and for muscle strength (sharper in the knee extensors). 


Safety, Feasibility, and Efficacy of Strengthening Exercise in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. D J Lott, T Taivassalo, K D Cooke et al. Muscle Nerve. 2020 (Dec).