Mom's Story

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Archive for the month “November, 2016”

Two Small Studies Find Benefits of Exercise for People with MS with Moderate to Severe Problems with Movement

 

Summary

  • Two small studies report on the benefits of exercise for people with MS who have moderate to severe mobility impairments. This research shows the importance of physical activity in enabling people with all forms of MS to live their best lives.
  • The National MS Society provides resources on exercise for people living with all forms of MS, as well as for healthcare providers. Further information on increasing physical activity in adults with disabilities is available from the Centers for Disease Control.

Details
Background: Growing evidence suggests that exercise is good for a person’s overall health and for reducing other health conditions (co-morbidities).  Research in MS has also suggested that exercise training is effective for improving aerobic capacity and muscle strength, mobility, quality of life, and may benefit cognition, fatigue and depression. However, research is limited on exercise options for people with MS who have moderate or severe mobility impairments. Two recent, small studies begin to address this gap.

Exercise for severe mobility impairments: Investigators randomly assigned 12 people with progressive MS to receive total-body recumbent stepper training (similar to climbing stairs) or body weight–supported treadmill training. Both are used for people with severe mobility impairments, but the authors wanted to see if stepper training showed similar benefit to treadmill training, because it is significantly less costly to use and maintain the equipment. Participants completed three weekly 30-minute sessions for 12 weeks. Both training programs were safe, and although participants enjoyed both, stepper training was reviewed more favorably. There were no changes in physical function, but both reduced fatigue and improved quality of life.

The team (Lara A. Pilutti, PhD, now at the University of Ottawa, and former colleagues at the University of Illi­nois at Urbana-Champaign) has published results in the International Journal of MS Care (2016;18:221–229).

A cycling option for non-ambulatory people: Functional electrical stimulation (FES) offers people with significant weakness and mobility problems a cycling option, using low-level electrical impulses to stimulate the activation of leg muscles. Researchers evaluated whether this type of cycling improved symptoms and quality of life in 16 people with moderate to severe MS who were unable to walk. Participants cycled for 30 minutes, two to three times a week for one month. Significant improvements were noted in cycling performance, and physical and psychosocial aspects of fatigue, as well as reductions in reported pain. There were no significant changes in spasticity, cognitive aspects of fatigue, or muscle strength. Further research in larger numbers of people would help to clarify how benefits might be optimized.

The team (Deborah Backus, PhD, PT, and colleagues at the Shepherd Center, Atlanta, GA) report their results in the International Journal of MS Care (Published online, August 9, 2016).

Read More: The National MS Society provides resources on exercise for people living with all forms of MS, as well as for healthcare providers. Further information on increasing physical activity in adults with disabilities is available from the Centers for Disease Control.

Summary

  • Two small studies report on the benefits of exercise for people with MS who have moderate to severe mobility impairments. This research shows the importance of physical activity in enabling people with all forms of MS to live their best lives.
  • The National MS Society provides resources on exercise for people living with all forms of MS, as well as for healthcare providers. Further information on increasing physical activity in adults with disabilities is available from the Centers for Disease Control.

Details
Background: Growing evidence suggests that exercise is good for a person’s overall health and for reducing other health conditions (co-morbidities).  Research in MS has also suggested that exercise training is effective for improving aerobic capacity and muscle strength, mobility, quality of life, and may benefit cognition, fatigue and depression. However, research is limited on exercise options for people with MS who have moderate or severe mobility impairments. Two recent, small studies begin to address this gap.

Exercise for severe mobility impairments: Investigators randomly assigned 12 people with progressive MS to receive total-body recumbent stepper training (similar to climbing stairs) or body weight–supported treadmill training. Both are used for people with severe mobility impairments, but the authors wanted to see if stepper training showed similar benefit to treadmill training, because it is significantly less costly to use and maintain the equipment. Participants completed three weekly 30-minute sessions for 12 weeks. Both training programs were safe, and although participants enjoyed both, stepper training was reviewed more favorably. There were no changes in physical function, but both reduced fatigue and improved quality of life.

The team (Lara A. Pilutti, PhD, now at the University of Ottawa, and former colleagues at the University of Illi­nois at Urbana-Champaign) has published results in the International Journal of MS Care (2016;18:221–229).

A cycling option for non-ambulatory people: Functional electrical stimulation (FES) offers people with significant weakness and mobility problems a cycling option, using low-level electrical impulses to stimulate the activation of leg muscles. Researchers evaluated whether this type of cycling improved symptoms and quality of life in 16 people with moderate to severe MS who were unable to walk. Participants cycled for 30 minutes, two to three times a week for one month. Significant improvements were noted in cycling performance, and physical and psychosocial aspects of fatigue, as well as reductions in reported pain. There were no significant changes in spasticity, cognitive aspects of fatigue, or muscle strength. Further research in larger numbers of people would help to clarify how benefits might be optimized.

The team (Deborah Backus, PhD, PT, and colleagues at the Shepherd Center, Atlanta, GA) report their results in the International Journal of MS Care (Published online, August 9, 2016).

Read More: The National MS Society provides resources on exercise for people living with all forms of MS, as well as for healthcare providers. Further information on increasing physical activity in adults with disabilities is available from the Centers for Disease Control.

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New research strengthens genetics, MS link

 

In a large-scale, genome-wide analysis of more than 110,000 samples, researchers identified 200 genetic loci associated with multiple sclerosis. The study authors said that while the research highlights the role of several different immune cells that contribute to the initiation of this inflammatory disease, the mechanisms that lead this inflammatory disease to target the brain and spinal cord remain unclear.

By comparing the genomes of people with and without MS, the researchers identified 200 variants that were significantly more common among those with the disease. Most of these variants implicate genes that are associated with immune cells and immune system function, including a few potentially specific to brain-related functions.

Interestingly, many of the genes identified were known to also be involved in other autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Type I diabetes, and ulcerative colitis. This raises intriguing questions about why these diseases target different organs and have different clinical manifestations.

The findings were presented at the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) 2016 annual meeting in Vancouver, B.C.

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