Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders and BioMed Central.

Open Access Study protocol

Design of the muscles in motion study: a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of an individually tailored home-based exercise training program for children and adolescents with juvenile dermatomyositis

Esther A Habers1, Marco van Brussel1*, Anneli C Langbroek-Amersfoort12, Annet van Royen-Kerkhof3 and Tim Takken1

Author Affiliations

1 Child Development & Exercise Center, Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital, University Medical Center Utrecht, Room KB.02.056.0, P.O. Box 85090, NL-3508 AB, Utrecht, the Netherlands

2 Faculty Center for Human Movement Sciences, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands

3 Department of Pediatric Immunology and Rheumatology, Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2012, 13:108  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-108

Published: 21 June 2012



Juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM) is a rare, often chronic, systemic autoimmune disease of childhood, characterized by inflammation of the microvasculature of the skeletal muscle and skin. Prominent clinical features include significant exercise intolerance, muscle weakness, and fatigue. Despite pharmacological improvements, these clinical features continue to affect patients with JDM, even when the disease is in remission. Exercise training is increasingly utilized as a non-pharmacological intervention in the clinical management of (adult) patients with chronic inflammatory conditions; however no randomized controlled trials (RCT) have been performed in JDM. In the current study, the efficacy and feasibility of an exercise training program in patients with JDM will be examined.


Subjects (n = 30) will include 8–18 year olds diagnosed with JDM. The intervention consists of an individually tailored 12-weeks home-based exercise training program in which interval training on a treadmill is alternated with strength training during each session. The program is based on previous literature and designed with a defined frequency, intensity, time, and type of exercise (FITT principles). Primary outcome measures include aerobic exercise capacity, isometric muscle strength, and perception of fatigue. The study methodology has been conceived according to the standards of the CONSORT guidelines. The current study will be a multi-center (4 Dutch University Medical Centers) RCT, with the control group also entering the training arm directly after completion of the initial protocol. Randomization is stratified according to age and gender.


The current study will provide evidence on the efficacy and feasibility of an individually tailored 12-week home-based exercise training program in youth with JDM.

Trial registration

Medical Ethics Committee of the University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands: 11–336; Netherlands Trial Register (NTR): NTR 3184.

Exercise; Children; Randomized controlled trial; Juvenile dermatomyositis