What are the physical and cognitive benefits of exercise on patients with multiple sclerosis?
1. Bayraktar D, Guclu-Gunduz A, Yazici G, et al. Effects of Ai-Chi on balance, functional mobility, strength and fatigue in patients with multiple sclerosis: a pilot study. NeuroRehabilitation. 2013; 33(3):431-7.
This research study was designed to examine the effects of Ai-Chi exercises in a swimming pool on balance and mobility in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Poor balance and decreased mobility is a common issue with MS, and the decline often limits daily activities. Researchers recruited twenty-three females affected by MS, and divided them into two groups. The exercise group ...view middle of the document...
Mult Scler. 2015; 21(8):1055-63.
This experiment focused on the potential benefits of using personalized balance exercises for subjects with MS. Typically, treatments are very general in nature and do not assess for each of the deficiencies a patient may have. Researchers divided 32 subjects into a personalized rehab group (PRG) and a traditional rehab group (TRG). Patients in the PRG received aid specific to their impairment. Those with bad or blurred vision performed exercises in front of a mirror to help them see their faults and correct them, and those with vertigo were provided rehabilitation to improve their gaze stability and postural control. The TRG simply performed exercises on a treadmill or standing still based on their physical ability. Upon completion of the study, patients in the PRG showed significant improvement on the Berg Balance Scale (BBS), as well as the composite test for equilibrium. The TRG showed improvement, but it was not nearly as significant. This shows that the tailored exercises targeting patients’ specific weaknesses were an effective treatment modality for MS. The uniqueness of this study focusing on the key issues of the subjects rather than generalizing their treatments is a huge strength of this research. This study comes from the Multiple Sclerosis Journal, clearly indicating its credibility in this field.
3. Castro-Sanchez AM, Mataran-Penarrocha GA, Lara-Palomo I, Saavedra-Hernandez M, Arroyo-Morales M, Moreno-Lorenzo C. Hydrotherapy for the treatment of pain in people with multiple sclerosis: a randomized controlled trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012:473963.
This study also researched the effects of Ai-Chi on MS symptoms, but this time the focus was more directed to its effects on pain, fatigue, and autonomy. Castro-Sanchez and her team of researchers got 73 patients with MS and divided them into an exercise group and a control group that only performed abdominal breathing exercises, just as the other study did. Patients underwent 40 sessions over 20 weeks, performing exercises in a heated pool to promote relaxation. Subjects’ pain was assessed using the visual analog scale (VAS) as well as pain questionairres, and fatigue was measured using the modified fatigue impact scale (MFIS). Upon completion of the study, improvements were seen in all categories of the study for the Ai-Chi group. The control group showed no significant improvements compared to baseline. It should be noted, however, that pain scores returned to baseline for most at a check-up ten weeks post-intervention. This shows that the key to exercise’s success is the continuance of the program. This was an interesting detail as it was the first to show that a 20 week program is not a cure-all solution to the effects of MS. It is important for subjects to continue rehab. This study presents a very strong sample size as well as a lengthy duration. I will be able to use their research as support for the use of exercise to...