Effects of 12 Weeks of Supported Treadmill Training on Functional Ability and Quality of Life in Progressive Multiple Sclerosis: A Pilot Study
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OBJECTIVE: To examine the effects of body-weight supported treadmill training (BWSTT) on functional ability and quality of life in patients with progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) of high disability. DESIGN: Before-after trial. SETTING: Exercise rehabilitation research center. PARTICIPANTS: Patients with progressive MS (N=6; 5 primary progressive, 1 secondary progressive) with high disability (mean±SD expanded disability status scale, [EDSS]=6.9±1.07). All participants completed the trial. INTERVENTIONS: Subjects completed 36 sessions of BWSTT (30-min sessions, 3×wk) over 12 weeks. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Outcome measures included functional ability assessed by EDSS and Multiple Sclerosis Functional Composite (MSFC). Quality of life and fatigue were assessed by the MS Quality of Life-54 (MSQoL-54) and the Modified Fatigue Impact Scale (MFIS), respectively. All tests were administered at baseline and after 12 weeks of training. RESULTS: All participants progressively improved training intensity; treadmill walking speed increased (34%; P<.001), and percent body weight support was reduced (42%; P<.001). A significant improvement in both physical (P=.02) and mental (P=.01) subscales of the MSQoL-54 was found. Fatigue was nonsignificantly reduced by 31% (P=.22); however, a large effect size (ES) was noted (ES=-.93). Functional ability remained stable with nonsignificant improvements in MSFC (P=.35; ES=.23) and EDSS (P=.36; ES=-.08) scores. CONCLUSIONS: Twelve weeks of BWSTT produces beneficial effects on quality of life and potentially reduces fatigue in patients with primary progressive MS of high disability level. Larger trials will be required to confirm these findings and to evaluate further the effects of BWSTT in progressive MS.
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