Muscle Strength/Function

Muscle strength and functional tests are being performed at all 6 visits over the 3 year study. Muscle strength are being assessed by manual muscle testing, handheld myometry and quantitative muscle testing. These tests measure the strength of a similar set of muscles in different ways to be as accurate as possible. In the functional tests, participants are being asked to perform a number of different tasks and will be evaluated on how well they are able to perform them.

Manual muscle testing (MMT) evaluates a person’s muscle strength, or ability to move a part of the body against resistance. A doctor or therapist will assess muscle strength in individual muscles, and the results show which muscles are weak and the pattern of the weakness. ­­To see a video example of manual muscle testing, click here.

Handheld myometry is another way to evaluate a person’s muscle strength and pattern of weakness that uses a portable device to quantitatively measure the amount of force a particular muscle is able to produce. To see a video example of handheld myometry, click here.

Fixed system myometry, also called quantitative muscle testing (QMT), is a third way to evaluate a person’s muscle strength and pattern of weakness.  It utilizes a frame or wall mounted with pulleys that are used to assess the amount of effort a particular muscle is able to exert.  QMT testing permits stronger extremities to be assessed more accurately.

Functional/activity tests evaluate a person’s ability to perform certain tasks.  The tasks participants are being asked to perform will be dependent on the participant's ambulatory status.  Performance of both the upper and lower body are being assessed using tasks that are important to daily living. To see a video example of a functional/activity test called the Jebsen test, click here.

Timed tests evaluate how long it takes a person to perform a specific task (see list below).  These tests are only being performed on ambulant participants.  The timed tests include:

  • 6 Minute Walk Test (6MWT)
  • Timed rise from floor
  • 10 meter walk / run
  • Timed Up and Go test (TUG)
  • Timed climb 4 steps
  • Timed descend 4 steps