Nav: Home

Balance exercises may help people with multiple sclerosis

January 31, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS - A special program that involves balance and eye movement exercises may help people with multiple sclerosis (MS) with their balance problems and fatigue, according to a study published in the January 31, 2018, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Balance problems and fatigue are common in MS and are tied to falls and limited mobility, which can affect people's ability to work or participate in their daily tasks. People with MS can also have vision problems, including problems that cause them to make inappropriate movement corrections that can cause further balance issues.

"Most rehabilitation programs to improve balance have focused mainly on strength exercises and balance exercises that are not designed for the specific problems of people with MS," said study author Jeffrey R. Hebert, PT, PhD, of the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora. "We wanted to see if performing balance and eye movement exercises while processing multiple different sensory information could help people improve their balance and fatigue issues."

The study involved 88 people with MS who were able to walk 100 meters with no more assistance than using a cane or other device on one side. The participants completed assessments of their balance, fatigue, dizziness and other factors. Then half of the participants completed six weeks of supervised exercises twice a week plus instructions for exercising every day at home; for the next eight weeks, they had one supervised exercise session each week, plus the daily exercises at home. As a control group, the rest of the participants were told that they were on a waiting list for the program. All of the participants were tested after six weeks and again at the end of the program.

The exercises included balancing on different surfaces and while walking, both with and without head movements and eyes open and closed, as well as eye movement exercises to help improve visual stability.

After six weeks, the people who had completed the exercise program had improved in their balance compared to the control group. On a computer-based balance test where healthy adults with no balance issues reach a score of around 90 or better out of 100, the scores of those who completed the exercise program went from an average of 63 at the start of the program to an average of 73 at six weeks, compared to scores of 62 at the start to 66 at the end for the control group. The improvements were still evident at the end of the study.

The people who did the exercises also improved on the fatigue and dizziness tests compared to the control group.

Hebert said further studies are needed to determine if improvements can be sustained and to directly compare this exercise program to other balance training programs.
-end-
The study was supported by National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

To learn more about multiple sclerosis, visit http://www.aan.com/patients.

The American Academy of Neurology is the world's largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals, with over 34,000 members. The AAN is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer's disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, concussion, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit http://www.aan.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube.

American Academy of Neurology

Related Multiple Sclerosis Articles:

New biomarkers of multiple sclerosis pathogenesis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic debilitating inflammatory disease targeting the brain.
Using telemedicine to treat multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) clinicians face continued challenges in optimizing neurological care, especially for people with advanced MS living in medically underserved communities.
Improving symptom tracking in multiple sclerosis
With a recent two-year, $833,000 grant from the US Department of Defense, kinesiology professor Richard van Emmerik and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Amherst hope to eventually help an estimated 1 million people worldwide living with progressive multiple sclerosis by creating an improved diagnostic test for this form of the disease, which is characterized by a steady decrease in nervous system function.
An antibody-based drug for multiple sclerosis
Inserm Unit U919, directed by Professor Denis Vivien has developed an antibody with potential therapeutic effects against multiple sclerosis.
Four new risk genes associated with multiple sclerosis discovered
Scientists of the Technical University of Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry have identified four new risk genes that are altered in German patients with multiple sclerosis.
More Multiple Sclerosis News and Multiple Sclerosis Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Teaching For Better Humans
More than test scores or good grades — what do kids need to prepare them for the future? This hour, guest host Manoush Zomorodi and TED speakers explore how to help children grow into better humans, in and out of the classroom. Guests include educators Olympia Della Flora and Liz Kleinrock, psychologist Thomas Curran, and writer Jacqueline Woodson.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#534 Bacteria are Coming for Your OJ
What makes breakfast, breakfast? Well, according to every movie and TV show we've ever seen, a big glass of orange juice is basically required. But our morning grapefruit might be in danger. Why? Citrus greening, a bacteria carried by a bug, has infected 90% of the citrus groves in Florida. It's coming for your OJ. We'll talk with University of Maryland plant virologist Anne Simon about ways to stop the citrus killer, and with science writer and journalist Maryn McKenna about why throwing antibiotics at the problem is probably not the solution. Related links: A Review of the Citrus Greening...