Public Defence: Kristin Schjander Berntsen Kristin Schjander Berntsen at Institute of Clinical Medicine will be defending the thesis "Physical Fitness in Long-Term Juvenile Dermatomyositis" for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

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Foto: Øystein H. Horgmo, UiO

Trial lecture - time and place

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Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Associate Professor Annet van Royen-Kerkhof, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • Second opponent: Associate Professor Helene Alexanderson, Karolinska institutet, Stockholm, Sweden 
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor Johny Kongerud, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo

Chair of defence

Professor II Till Uhlig, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Helga Sanner, Oslo University Hospital


Juvenile dermatomyositis is a rare idiopathic, inflammatory myopathy of childhood, primarily affecting the skin and muscle tissue, but also internal organs such as the heart and lungs. Despite effective immune modulating treatment, patients may experience significant long-term morbidity.

Based on previous results of reduced muscle-, cardiac-, and pulmonary function (often subclinical) in JDM patients after long-term disease duration, we aimed to explore physical function in patients nearly 20 years after diagnosis. Through an observational, cross-sectional case-control study, we performed submaximal and maximal exercise testing as well as testing of muscle structure and function in patients and age- and sex-matched controls, comparing patients to controls as well as patients with active to inactive disease (classified according to validated criteria of inactive disease (PRINTO)).

Physical function was reduced in patients versus controls. In patients with inactive disease, this was only visible through high intensity exercise, and was associated with deconditioning perhaps affected by disease damage. In patients with active disease also testing at submaximal levels showed lower physical function compared to controls, to a larger extent related to disease associated muscle weakness (both activity and damage), and involving reduced expansion of the thorax. Muscle characteristics suggested different structural and functional adaptations to disease between active and inactive disease. The results propose a different focus on rehabilitation between active and inactive disease after long-term disease duration.

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Published Nov. 22, 2019 10:33 AM - Last modified Nov. 22, 2019 2:35 PM