Patient with Myasthenia Gravis shows improvement in functional, physiological, and psychological outcomes after 12 months of kettlebell training



Poster Number: M270


Davi Mazala, PhD, Towson University

Myasthenia gravis (MG) is an autoimmune disease characterized by muscle weakness and fatigue due to abnormal neuromuscular transmission. While previous studies have shown positive effects of exercise training in individuals with MG, no studies have assessed longitudinal (>6 months) changes in response to resistance training in this population. The purpose of the current case report was to evaluate changes in functional (i.e., grip strength, knee extension torque, stair climb, and short physical performance battery test (SPPB)), physiological (i.e., vascular health, body composition, and resting energy expenditure), and psychological variables in a 72-year-old woman diagnosed with MG participating in a year-long kettlebell training (KT) program (45min/session; 2x/week; 7/10 Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE)). The KT consisted of dynamic exercises (deadlifts, shoulder presses, bent over rows, squats and swings) with the individual completing between 3-9 sets with 4-10 repetitions. The number of sets and repetitions were adjusted to maintain exercise volume as kettlebell resistance progressed over the program. Grip strength and knee extension torque increased from baseline to 12 months of training (+25.7% and +14.9%, respectively). Time to ascend a flight of stairs decreased by 37% and total SPPB score increased from 7 (moderate physical function) to 10 (high physical function). Fat free mass increased (+3.5 lbs), and brachial and aortic systolic pressures decreased by 10.6% and 9.8% respectively. Lastly, general life satisfaction increased from the 47th to the 53rd percentile and positive affect increased from the 49th to the 51st percentile after 12 months. While these data demonstrate functional, physiological, and psychological improvements in response to KT in an individual with MG, future studies should 1) be designed with a greater sample size, 2) evaluate the underlying mechanisms behind these changes, and 3) establish exercise guidelines in this population.