April 2013

Parameters Representing Muscle Tone, Elasticity and Stiffness of Biceps Brachii in Healthy Older Males: Symmetry and Within-Session Reliability Using the MyotonPRO

L. Bailey, D. Samuel, M. Warner, M. Stokes
Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southampton, United Kingdom
Journal of Neurological Disorders Journal of Neurological Disorders (2013);1(1):1000116 pgs 1-7 (DOI: 10.4172/2329-6895.1000116)

Clinical assessments of muscle tone are subjective, often using the non-affected side for comparison. The MyotonPRO offers portable, non-invasive, objective measurement of mechanical properties of muscles.

This study aimed to investigate between-limb symmetry for mechanical properties of biceps brachii (BB) in older males and within-session intra-rater reliability of a novice user of the MyotonPRO device.

Twenty community-dwelling, right-handed males aged 65-85 years (mean 71.7; SD ± 4.9) were studied. Exclusion criteria: history of neurological and musculoskeletal conditions, medications affecting muscle tone, and body mass index >30 kg/m2. The device applied 10 mechanical impulses at one second intervals, producing damped oscillations, from which frequency (non-neural tone), stiffness and logarithmic decrement (elasticity) were measured. With the participant resting supine, two consecutive sets of 10 recordings were taken bilaterally from BB.

Percentage mean differences between-sides for larger and smaller values were 12% (tone), 14% (stiffness) and 27% (elasticity), which were statistically significant (p<0.001). Within-session reliability was excellent for all three parameters (ICC 3,2: all 0.99). Bland and Altman plots confirmed good agreement, without bias.

Symmetry of BB mechanical properties in a group of older males was less than 15% for tone and stiffness but not elasticity. Within-session intra-rater reliability of a novice user was excellent for all three parameters. Reliability over different days needs to be investigated. These findings indicate potential clinical application of the MyotonPRO for assessing abnormalities of muscle parameters in patients with neurological or musculoskeletal conditions, using comparison with the contralateral side (absolute difference), as well as databases of normative reference values from healthy control groups of different ages, gender and activity levels.