Evaluation of therapeutic electrical stimulation to improve muscle strength and function in children with types II/III spinal muscular atrophy
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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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