A home-based, individualized endurance exercise training program at an intended walking speed controlled by a pre-set tempo of music with the assistance of a mobile phone significantly
improves exercise capacity, strength of limb muscles and a decrease in inflammation markers in patients with Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).In this pilot clinical study
at a tertiary medical center in Taiwan, it was reported that all 12 patients in the mobile-phone group were still exercising 4 to 6 days per week at the end of the 6 months study, while only 7 of the 14 patients in control group reported regular walking at the end of study. In fact, there was a significant improvement in walking distance from 261.5 meters (± 29.9 m) at the start of the study to 310.8 meters (± 34.0 M) at 3 months and 320 meters (± 30.7 M) at 6 months in patients in the mobile-phone group. In contrast, there was a deterioration in walking distance from 251.4 meters (± 21.0 M) at baseline to 222.5 meters (± 28.3 m) at 6 months in the control group of patients.
The strength in the muscles of the arms and legs increased in the mobile phone group over the course of the study, unlike the control group. Additionally, the strength in the muscles of the legs in the mobile phone group was significantly greater than that of the control group.
In the most objective measurement, the plasma levels of inflammation markers (CRP, IL-6,IL-8 and TNF-α), decreased during the course of the study in patients in the mobile phone group. The opposite effect was observed in the control group. Lastly, plasma levels of the inflammatory markers were significantly higher in the control group compared to the mobile phone group.
Exercise training is the cornerstone of pulmonary rehabilitation, and despite the limitations of this study (small sample size, short duration of the study), the results demonstrate that daily exercise programs through a mobile phone based program can be performed successfully in an out-patient settings, potentially yielding better patient adherence and cost savings to the healthcare system.