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Autonomic modulation in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy during a computer task: a prospective control trial


Introduction: Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is characterized by progressive muscle weakness that can lead to disability. Owing to functional difficulties faced by individuals with DMD, the use of assistive technology is essential to provide or facilitate functional abilities. In DMD, cardiac autonomic dysfunction has been reported in addition to musculoskeletal impairment. Consequently, the objective was to investigate acute cardiac autonomic responses, by Heart Rate Variability (HRV), during computer tasks in subjects with DMD. Method: HRV was assessed by linear and nonlinear methods, using the heart rate monitor Polar RS800CX chest strap Electrocardiographic measuring device. Then, 45 subjects were included in the group with DMD and 45 in the healthy Typical Development (TD) control group. They were assessed for twenty minutes at rest sitting, and five minutes after undergoing a task on the computer. Results: Individuals with DMD had a statistically significant lower parasympathetic cardiac modulation at rest when compared to the control group, which further declined when undergoing the tasks on the computer. Conclusion: DMD patients presented decreased HRV and exhibited greater intensity of cardiac autonomic responses during computer tasks characterized by vagal withdrawal when compared to the healthy TD control subjects. (AU)

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