Background: This systematic review summarizes the current evidence about the effectiveness of wearable assistive technologies for upper limbs support during activities of daily living for individuals with neuromuscular diseases. Methods: Fourteen studies have been included in the meta-analysis, involving 184 participants. All included studies compared patients ability to perform functional tasks with and without assistive devices. Results: An overall effect size of 1.06 (95% CI = 0.76-1.36, p < 0.00001) was obtained, demonstrating that upper limbs assistive devices significantly improve the performance in activities of daily living in people with neuromuscular diseases. A significant interaction between studies evaluating functional improvement with externally-assessed outcome measures or self-perceived outcome measures has been detected. In particular, the effect size of the sub-group considering self-perceived scales was 1.38 (95% CI = 1.08-1.68), while the effect size of the other group was 0.77 (95% CI = 0.41-1.11), meaning that patients' perceived functional gain is often higher than the functional gain detectable through clinical scales. Conclusion: Overall, the quality of the evidence ranged from low to moderate, due to low number of studies and participants, limitations in the selection of participants and in the blindness of outcome assessors, and risk of publication bias. Significance: A large magnitude effect and a clear dose-response gradient were found, therefore, a strong recommendation, in favor of the use of assistive devices could be suggested.

The Effectiveness of Wearable Upper Limb Assistive Devices in Degenerative Neuromuscular Diseases: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Gandolla M.;Antonietti A.;Longatelli V.;Pedrocchi A.
2020-01-01

Abstract

Background: This systematic review summarizes the current evidence about the effectiveness of wearable assistive technologies for upper limbs support during activities of daily living for individuals with neuromuscular diseases. Methods: Fourteen studies have been included in the meta-analysis, involving 184 participants. All included studies compared patients ability to perform functional tasks with and without assistive devices. Results: An overall effect size of 1.06 (95% CI = 0.76-1.36, p < 0.00001) was obtained, demonstrating that upper limbs assistive devices significantly improve the performance in activities of daily living in people with neuromuscular diseases. A significant interaction between studies evaluating functional improvement with externally-assessed outcome measures or self-perceived outcome measures has been detected. In particular, the effect size of the sub-group considering self-perceived scales was 1.38 (95% CI = 1.08-1.68), while the effect size of the other group was 0.77 (95% CI = 0.41-1.11), meaning that patients' perceived functional gain is often higher than the functional gain detectable through clinical scales. Conclusion: Overall, the quality of the evidence ranged from low to moderate, due to low number of studies and participants, limitations in the selection of participants and in the blindness of outcome assessors, and risk of publication bias. Significance: A large magnitude effect and a clear dose-response gradient were found, therefore, a strong recommendation, in favor of the use of assistive devices could be suggested.
assistive devices; meta-analysis; neuromuscular disease; upper limbs; wearable
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1131434
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