Garopoulou, V.1,5*, Meke, M.2, Latsiou, E.3, Papakonstantinou, G.4, Mouzakidis, C.5, Notas, K.6, Orologas, A.6, Tsolaki M.1,5
1Scientific Collaborator at 1st Neurology DEPT – AHEPA University General Hospital, Greece
2,4European College of Sports and Exercise Physicians (E.C.O.S.E.P.)
3Department of Psychology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
5Hellenic Association of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders (Alzheimer Hellas), Thessaloniki, Hellas
6Department of Neurology, St. Luke’s Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece
Background: Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a complex neurodegenerative disease affecting the central nervous system (CNS). It is considered to be an idiopathic disease of possibly autoimmune origin. The immune system attacks myelin, which is the protective layer around nerve fibers leading to demyelination. This causes disturbances in the communication networks within the brain and spinal cord. The participation of a person with MS in a physical exercise program has been debated as bearing positive effect in its fitness, function, disease symptoms and quality of life. The rate of physical activity is substantially lower in persons with multiple sclerosis (MS) than in the general population.
Scope: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of different therapeutic exercise protocols to functional capacity, fatigue and quality of life in adults with MS.
Methods: Controlled experimental interventions were developed by forming a group of aerobic exercise (n=6), pilates (n=6), combined exercise (n=6) and a control one (n=18). Berg Balance Scale (BBS), Timed 25-Foot Walk, Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS) and Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life (MSQOL)-54 were used to assess functional aspects and quality of life in all 36 adults with MS before and after exercise protocols.
Results: At 18 months post interventions all three experimental groups were significantly improved (p<0.05) regarding the Mental Health Composite (MHC) while significantly lower scores were found regarding the Mental and Physical Health Composites in the control group (p<0.05). Physical Health Composite (PHC) was also improved in all intervention groups but not significantly (α=0.05). BBS, Timed 25-Foot Walk and FSS significantly improved over time in the combined and aerobic exercise groups (p<0.05). The pilates exercise group showed the less not significant improvement and the control group had negative execution scores in all aforementioned scales assessed (α=0.05).
Conclusions: Findings indicated the efficacy of aerobic and combined exercise protocols in people with MS. Various exercise combinations are recommended to select the best rehabilitation regimen for people with MS individually or in groups.
Keywords: Multiple Sclerosis; Physical Exercise; Pilates; Aerobic Exercise; Combination of exercises; Quality of Life.