Resistance training can improve fine manual dexterity in essential tremor patients: A preliminary study

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Research Report

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Sequeira, G., Keogh, J. W., & Kavanagh, J. J. (2012). Resistance training can improve fine manual dexterity in essential tremor patients: A preliminary study. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabiliation, 93(8), 1466-1468.

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© Copyright by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, 2012




Objective: To determine if a short-term resistance training (RT) program of the upper limb can improve strength, fine manual dexterity, and quality of life in individuals with essential tremor (ET).

Design: Single group, dual pretest-posttest intervention study.

Setting: General community.

Participants: Participants (N 6; mean age SD, 74 7y) clinically diagnosed as having ET (mean years diagnosed SD, 19 7y) were recruited into the study.

Intervention: A 6-week RT program involving unilateral dumbbell bicep curls, wrist flexion, and wrist extension exercises twice a week.

Main Outcome Measures: Upper limb strength determined from five-repetition maximum; fine manual dexterity determined from the Purdue Pegboard Test (PPT) for the hand of the most affected limb, the hand of the least affected limb, both hands, and a bilateral assembly task; and quality of life determined from the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey and the ET specific Quality of Life in Essential Tremor questionnaire.

Results: The RT program resulted in significant increases in 4 of the 6 upper limb strength measures. Significant improvements in the PPT were observed for the single hand components of this test. PPT performance improved immediately after RT when using the most affected limb, but these changes took longer to be observed for the least affected limb.

Conclusions: Overall, fine manual dexterity improved in ET patients after a simple RT program. The findings of this preliminary study provide clear evidence that RT is worthy of further investigation as a therapy for improving functionality in ET patients.

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