Category: Neurodegenerative Disease (e.g. MS, Parkinson's disease); Clinical Practice (assessment, diagnosis, treatment, knowledge translation/EBP, implementation science, program development)
Objective : To determine the acute effects of non-specifically placed axial loads on indicators of postural control in people with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Design : A quasi-experimental, single-group, time-series design.
Setting : University research laboratory.
Participants (or Animals, Specimens, Cadavers) : Twelve volunteer subjects with MS walked 25’ back and forth along a tiled floor while wearing weighted vests with 0%, 2%, 4%, 5%, and then 0% of their body weight. Except for the 0% pre and 0% post conditions, vest weight was randomized across subjects to control for order effects.
Interventions : Not applicable.
Main Outcome Measure(s) :
Instrumented measures of balance control were collected via wireless inertial sensors placed on both feet, wrists, the sternum, and the lumbar spine. Outcome variables included cadence, double limb support, gait speed, stride length, and turning velocity and duration. For each variable, a repeated measure analysis of variance and, if appropriate, post-hoc test were conducted. Significance was set at p
Results : A significant main effect was found in multiple gait parameters. Cadence and gait speed increased by 3.51% (p= 0.005) and 6.53% (p=0.023), respectively, over the trial conditions. In addition, double support time decreased by 5.51% (p=0.043) and stride length increased by 3.10% (p=0.045).
Although this study offers preliminary insight into axial loading as a potential mechanism to improve postural control in people with the disease, a randomized control trial is necessary to more rigorously examine both short- and long-term benefit. Further research is also needed to discern the neurophysiological underpinnings of observed changes in balance.
Casey Little– Student Research Assistant, University Of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont
Connor Moore– Student Research Assistant, University Of Vermont, Barre, Vermont
Emily Bean– Student Research Assistant, University Of Vermont, Essex Junction, Vermont
Susan Kasser– Professor of Exercise Science, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont