An updated review on the role of prescribed exercise in the management of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Expert Rev Neurother. 2021 Aug;21(8):871-879. doi: 10.1080/14737175.2021.1951706. Epub 2021 Aug 4.


Introduction: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a group of sporadic or familial disorders, characterized by upper and lower motor neuron involvement, with variable progression.Areas covered: The authors present the role of exercise in counteracting muscle disuse, particularly on limb weakness, that might antagonize denervation. The persistence of inactivity can affect many systems and the patient can develop deconditioning, muscle joint tightness, which causes contractures and pain. The main area of the review is the evaluation of the studies done on ALS exercise rehabilitation protocols, this was done by the evaluation of outcome function and patient independence exerting a positive psychological impact on both patients and caregivers. A second target is underlying differences between endurance and resistance exercise protocols, which may throw light on the biological mechanism of skeletal muscle repair, functional performance, and metabolism. The authors present not only exercise trials but also molecular biomarkers that might help define changes induced by physical rehabilitation. Our findings might help to achieve the best rehabilitation program. A standardized rehabilitation protocol is important: the instructed patients may continue therapy at home or be followed by telemedicine.Expert opinion: This review evaluates exercise rehabilitation, a controversial issue, evidence is weak and non-conclusive but represents the art status.

Keywords: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; biomarkers; exercise; micro-RNA; mitochondria; rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis* / therapy
  • Exercise
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Humans
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Pain