Neck muscle weakness due to motor neurone disease

 A MultiSim researcher  has been a part of a preliminary study on patients affected by neck muscle weakness due to motor neurone disease.
Below is a summary of research by Silvia Pancani who is one of the authors of a paper on cervical orthoses published in Clinical Biomechanics.


An orthosis is an externally applied device that is designed and fitted to the body to achieve one or more of the following goals:

– Control biomechanical alignment.
– Correct or accommodate deformity.
– Protect and support an injury.

Cervical orthoses are prescribed for a range of conditions from muscles spasms to more serious conditions such as motor neurone disease. Motor neurone disease is a neuro degenerative disease which leads to muscle weakness and that can also involve neck muscles. Orthoses (collars) are designed to immobilise the neck . The aim is to rest the neck and give support. This helps affected muscles to relax and inflammation to subside.  However, most commercially available orthoses are uncomfortable and strenuous to wear for a long time. The Sheffield Support Snood’s main feature is to offer selective support through the presence of adjustable supports (Fig 1),  according to an individual’s disease development.

“Since we also aimed at proposing a protocol easily translatable in a clinical context for future tests in patients with motor neurone disease, wearable inertial magneto units were used for the assessment. The use of these sensors is really advantageous in clinical applications,since it allows measurements to be performed in a clinical setting, with reduced discomfort to the patient.” said Silvia.

The study

This study involved 12 healthy subjects and aimed at assessing the differences between two existing cervical orthoses, the Headmaster (Symmetric Designs) and the Vista(Aspen Medical Products), and a newly developed cervical orthosis, the Sheffield Support Snood (Device for Dignity Healthcare Technology Cooperative), specifically designed for people affected by neck muscle weakness, such as motor neurone disease patients.

Snood Study
Fig. 1. (A) Sheffield Support Snood; (B) Sheffield Support Snood with supports (from left to right: straight support, lateral support, jaw support and A-shaped support); (C) Headmaster cervical orthosis; (D) Vista cervical orthosis.


The Sheffield Support Snood, tested using this new protocol, confirmed its ability to offer
support only for those movements where this was needed and without limiting
concurrent movements in other planes. In addition, in its more supportive configuration,
it showed a support comparable to the Vista in all the directions tested. Driven by the
encouraging results obtained with healthy subjects, we tested the new orthosis also with
people affected by neck muscle weakness due to motor neurone disease. Results
coming from those tests will be soon available.

Further information
Authors: Silvia Pancani, Jennifer Rowson, Wendy Tindale, Nicola Heron, Joe Langley, Avril D. McCarthy, Ann Quinn, Heath Reed , Andrew Stanton , Pamela J. Shaw, Christopher J. McDermott, Claudia Mazzà

Published in Clinical Biomechanics

Article title: Assessment of the Sheffield Support Snood, an innovative cervical orthosis designed for people affected by neck muscle weakness