Respiratory strength training evaluated in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

  • In a randomized controlled trial, 45 people with early-stage amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) were allocated to receive 12 weeks of active inspiratory and expiratory respiratory strength training (RST) or sham RST (control group).
  • Maximum expiratory pressure improved by an average of 20.8 cmH20 in the RST group, compared with a worsening of 1.0 cmH20 in the control arm, a significant difference. Participants in the RST group also experienced a greater improvement in mean maximum expiratory pressure than those given sham RST (8.9 vs 4.8 cmH20), but the between-group difference did not reach statistical significance. There were no RST-related adverse events.
  • The authors conclude that RST represents a proactive intervention that could improve the capacity of certain breathing functions in early ALS, and recommend additional research to establish the optimal training intensity and potential long-term benefits.