MS News that Caught My Eye This Week: Hippotherapy, Smartphone Research, and the Military

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by Ed Tobias |

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Horseback Riding Plus Standard Care Can Help MS Patients Improve Balance, Other Symptoms

Absolutely, it can. I don’t need to read this study to know that because I’ve been there, done that. About five years ago, at 64, I got back on a horse for the first time since I was 11. A horse farm near me was offering hippotherapy for MS patients and I got back in the saddle. The riding did wonders for my balance, gait, and overall health. I’d still be riding if a facility existed near where I now live. Alice Melão‘s story will tell you more about this great form of therapy.

Therapeutic horseback riding, also known as hippotherapy, when combined with standard care regimens significantly reduces fatigue and muscle contraction (spasticity) in multiple sclerosis. It also improves balance and quality of life, according to a German study.

The study, “Hippotherapy for patients with multiple sclerosis: A multicenter randomized controlled trial (MS-HIPPO),” appeared in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal.


MS Patients Can Use Smartphone to Take Part in Novartis Study of Movement Performance and Symptoms

Once again, there’s an app for that. (Is there anything there’s not an app for?) This one seems pretty cool if you want to track, and don’t mind sharing info about, your symptoms. Learn more about it by reading Patricia Inacio‘s report.

A multiple sclerosis study will collect information about patients’ movement performance and symptoms from their smartphones, Novartis has reported.

The study is aimed at evaluating in real time the daily challenges of people living with MS. The results may help researchers develop new ways to measure treatments’ effectiveness, the company said. The title of the study is “Evaluation of Evidence from Smart Phone Sensors and Patient-Reported Outcomes in Participants with Multiple Sclerosis (elevateMS).”


MS-related Death Rate in British Military Is Much Higher Than in Other Professions, Study Finds

This study, reported by Iqra Mumal, speculates that MS-related deaths in the military may be higher than in other professions because military recruits live in barracks, close to each other. Therefore, they may be prone to spreading infections that later might trigger MS. Although the headline seems a bit inflammatory to me, especially since this study contradicts an earlier study, what’s presented is an interesting idea.

British military personnel are at significantly higher risk of dying from multiple sclerosis than people in other occupations, a study reports. The findings, in the article, “Mortality from multiple sclerosis in British military personnel,” were reported in the journal Occupational Medicine. The results conflicted with an earlier study that included non-military controls.


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


charles avatar


i got ms while in the military, but went undiagnosed until several years later. thus, no benefits. :(


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