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Can I use electrical stimulation for people with SMA (spinal muscle atrophy)?

What type of stimulation I can use?


8 months ago

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Prof Tim Watson
Prof Tim Watson

Reda. Ther was a fairly recent paper (2013) [Gorgey, A. S., et al. (2013). "Neuromuscular electrical stimulation attenuates thigh skeletal muscles atrophy but not trunk muscles after spinal cord injury." J Electromyogr Kinesiol 23(4): 977-984.] which tested surface NMES stimulation and demonstrated slowing of the muscle atrophy in the thigh (but not trunk) which might be worth a look at - but as Prof Laakso says, it depends on whether you are looking for effect on pain, function, muscle atrophy retardation etc - so this might not be the kind of paper that you are looking for. Any help??? Tim


Dear Reda, Are you proposing to use eStim for pain, or muscle weakness, or something else? Regards, Liisa Laakso

Prof Gad Alon
Prof Gad Alon

The only study I could find was published in 2002 and found that sensory stimulation at night for 6-12 months had no benefit: The study aimed to evaluate the effect of low-intensity night-time therapeutic electrical stimulation (TES) on arm strength and function in children with intermediate type spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). The design was a randomized controlled trial with a 6-month baseline control period. Children were evaluated at baseline, 6, and 12 months. TES was applied from 6 to 12 months to the deltoid and biceps muscle, of a randomly selected arm with the opposite arm receiving a placebo stimulator. Thirteen individuals with SMA between 5 to 19 years of age were recruited into the study and eight completed the 12-month assessment. No statistically significant differences between the treatment and control arm were found at baseline, 6, and 12 months for elbow flexors, or shoulder abductors on quantitative myometry or manual muscle testing. There was no significant change in excitable muscle mass assessed by M-wave amplitudes, nor function on the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory (self-care domain). Therefore, in this study there was no evidence that TES improved strength in children with SMA.

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