Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Thesis defense Arjen Bergsma (Donders series 235)

5 December 2016

Promotor: prof. dr. A. Geurts, copromotors: dr. I. de Groot, dr. E. Cup

The upper limb in neuromuscular disorders - From basic function to daily life performance

Our arms are important in carrying out daily activities. A muscular disease can limit the arm function, so that people are no longer able to carry out their daily activities in the way they want. In this thesis, we have studied the problems and limitations of people with different types of muscle diseases in daily life, and with what instruments this can be measured. A questionnaire survey in various muscle diseases led to recognition that certain muscle diseases tend to lead to overload (high arm activity, however also much pain) while other muscle diseases show a profile with just a limited load (restricted use of the arms and little pain). These different profiles advocate different rehabilitation strategies, including the use of arm supports. From measurements on the arm muscles, it became clear that the use of an armrest leads to less stress on the muscles than without the use of such an armrest. In addition to the survey study and analysis of muscle activity, it is recommended to use methods in the future that can measure the arm activity in everyday life, to get insight into effectiveness of innovative armrests or other rehabilitation strategies.