TEST-111: Whole-Body Electromyostimulation to fight osteopenia in elderly females

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TEST-111: Whole-Body Electromyostimulation to fight osteopenia in elderly females
Key Take-Away: 
  • Whole-body electromyostimulation is beneficial for the patients not able or willing to perform conventional exercises. However, effects on bone mineral density are not significant.
  • There were borderline non significant differences for the primary outcome measure, BMD LS at twelve months (Mean ± SD:886 ± 173) and baseline (882 ± 178) in WB-EMS group versus 830 ± 105 and 835 ± 103 in control group (P = 0.051) and no significant difference on BMD hip.

Whole-Body Electromyostimulation (WB-EMS) is a reasonable and time-saving option for patients who are unable or unwilling to perform strenuous conventional exercises. This technology mainly focuses on muscles by activating muscle contraction and directly stimulating muscle protein synthesis rate.

ABSTRACT: 
Background: 

Whole-Body Electromyostimulation (WB-EMS) is a reasonable and time-saving option for patients who are unable or unwilling to perform strenuous conventional exercises. This technology mainly focuses on muscles by activating muscle contraction and directly stimulating muscle protein synthesis rate. However, there is some evidence that this mode of muscle stimulation also impacts bone.

 

Rationale for research

  • EMS technology primarily focuses on muscle by activating muscle contraction and directly stimulating muscle protein synthesis rate
  • However, there is an evidence of its impact on the bone parameters as well
  • Objective

To evaluate the impact of WB-EMS on bone mass density in sedentary, lean and osteopenic elderly females (a cohort at high risk of fractures)

Methods: 

 

Study outcomes

  • Primary outcome: Bone density at the Lumbar Spine (LS), Bone mineral density at the proximal femur (total hip region of interest)
  • Secondary outcomes: Total lean body mass, Grip strength

Time-points

  • Efficacy: Baseline,12 months
Results: 

 

Baseline: Treatment groups were well balanced with no significant intergroup differences

  • Bone mineral density was increased at lumbar spine in WB-EMS groups and decreased in CG whereas total hip ROI BMD decreased in both groups

BMD LS (mg/cm²)

  • Baseline:882 ± 178/ 835 ± 103
  • At 12 months: 886 ± 173/ 830 ± 105

BMD hip (mg/cm²)

  • Baseline: 763 ± 81/ 754 ± 95
  • At 12 months: 756 ± 85/ 746 ± 0.097

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Figure 1: Primary Outcome

  • Total LBM as measured by total body DXA scans was increased in WB- EMS group (0.7 ± 1.6%)and decreased in CG (0.8 ± 2.5%) . Changes in the grip strength were 10.5 ± 12.6% in WB-EMS and 2.2 ± 8.19% in CG group
Conclusion: 

The result indicates the borderline not significant effect of WB-EMS on BMS at lumbar spine and no effect at hip but considering its high impact on muscle mass, it can be an option for those elderly patients who are unable or unwilling to do the conventional exercises

This was the first trial that determined the effect of WB-EMS on BMD at LS in elderly females with osteopenia. Though it does not show significant results but the effect of EMS on BMD in other studies exclusively determined Functional EMS under disuse conditions like spinal cord injury (SCI). In a recent study, there was significant increase in BMD after 3, 6 and 12 months of FES leg cycling or FES leg extension exercises in SCI patients. Some other studies have also shown similar results concluding that longer period of training and high training frequency had shown improvements in BMD.

Journal of Osteoporosis 2015; 1-7
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