The effect of chronic low frequency stimulation on the tibialis anterior muscle of children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy was investigated. Baseline data from 16 boys established low values of maximum voluntary contraction which did not improve with age. Studies of the contractile properties revealed significant slowing (p less than 0.001) of mean relaxation time compared to that of normal children's muscles. There was no loss of force during fatigue testing, as in normal children, but in contrast to normal children, there was no potentiation at lower frequencies of stimulation. Intermittent chronic low frequency stimulation of muscles in six young ambulant children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy resulted in a significant increase (p less than 0.05) in mean maximum voluntary contraction compared with the mean forces exerted by the unstimulated control muscles of the contralateral leg.
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