BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Playing an instrument implies neuroplasticity in different cerebral regions. This phenomenon has been described in subjects with stroke, suggesting that it could play a role in hand rehabilitation. The aim of this study is to analyse the effectiveness of playing a musical keyboard in improving hand function in subjects with multiple sclerosis.
METHODS: Nineteen hospitalized subjects were randomized in two groups: nine played a turned-on musical keyboard by sequences of fingers movements (audio feedback present) and 10 performed the same exercises on a turned-off musical keyboard (audio feedback absent). Training duration was half an hour per day for 15 days. Primary outcome was the perceived hand functional use measured by ABILHAND Questionnaire. Secondary outcomes were hand dexterity, measured by Nine-Hole Peg Test, and hand strength, measured by Jamar and Pinch dynamometers. Two-way analysis of variance was used for data analysis.
RESULTS: The interaction time × group was significant (p = 0.003) for ABILHAND Questionnaire in favour of experimental group (mean between-group difference 0.99 logit [IC95%: 0.44; 1.54]). The two groups showed a significant time effect for all outcomes except for Jamar measure.
DISCUSSION: Playing a musical keyboard seems a valid method to train the functional use of hands in subjects with multiple sclerosis
ABILHAND (click) is a measure of manual ability for adults with upper limb impairments. The scale measures a person’s ability to manage daily activities that require the use of the upper limbs, whatever the strategies involved.