CMSC Grant to Support Kessler Foundation Study of Low-risk Exercise in MS

CMSC Grant to Support Kessler Foundation Study of Low-risk Exercise in MS

The Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) has awarded a grant to Kessler Foundation researchers, supporting a pilot study into how well different low-risk exercise regimens ease multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms and improve patients’ well-being.

The grant recipients are John DeLuca, PhD, senior vice president for research and training, and Helen Genova, PhD, assistant director of the foundation’s Center for Neuropsychology and Neuroscience Research.

DeLuca has been involved in neuropsychology and rehabilitation research for more than 30 years in a variety of clinical populations, including MS. Genova’s focus of study is cognitive issues, using both behavioral and neuroimaging methods, including social cognition, emotional processing and cognitive fatigue.

Rosalia Dacosta Aguayo, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at Kessler Foundation, will help to conduct the study.

People with MS experience a range of disabling physical and mental symptoms, including muscle weakness and stiffness (spasticity), difficulty walking, balance problems, heat sensitivityfatigue, cognitive impairment, and depression.

Studies have indicated that exercise training is beneficial for their muscular strength, aerobic capacity, and ambulatory performance, and may also ease fatigue, gait and balance problems, and improve their quality of life.

Although evidence is still preliminary, exercise is thought to affect inflammation, neurodegeneration, and structures in the central nervous system (CNS; the brain and spinal cord), but many patients are reluctant to exercise as MS symptoms can make it hard to engage in regular physical activity.

Different types of exercise offer different benefits, but few studies have addressed them in the context of MS. In particular, the effects of exercise on depression and cognition have not been thoroughly studied.

Kessler researchers will look at different types of exercise regimens — from aquatic exercises to stretching — and their impact on the full range of participants’ symptoms to evaluate their potential for improving patients’ functional abilities and well-being.

“We will measure the effects of exercise on cognition, fatigue, physical functioning, and overall wellness and quality of life,” Genova said in a press release.

“Finding benefits across these multiple realms would focus attention on exercise regimens as low-risk noninvasive interventions that may improve the lives of individuals with MS,” Genova added.

Besides this upcoming study, the Kessler Foundation has a number of ongoing research projects in MS,  exploring ways of managing the cognitive, physical, and emotional symptoms of the disease.

The grant amount awarded by CMSC was not disclosed.

Ana is a molecular biologist with a passion for discovery and communication. As a science writer she looks for connecting the public, in particular patient and healthcare communities, with clear and quality information about the latest medical advances. Ana holds a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Lisbon, Portugal, where she specialized in genetics, molecular biology, and infectious diseases
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Patrícia holds her PhD in Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases from the Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden, The Netherlands. She has studied Applied Biology at Universidade do Minho and was a postdoctoral research fellow at Instituto de Medicina Molecular in Lisbon, Portugal. Her work has been focused on molecular genetic traits of infectious agents such as viruses and parasites.
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Ana is a molecular biologist with a passion for discovery and communication. As a science writer she looks for connecting the public, in particular patient and healthcare communities, with clear and quality information about the latest medical advances. Ana holds a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Lisbon, Portugal, where she specialized in genetics, molecular biology, and infectious diseases
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5 comments

  1. It’s about time. I was told by the

    It’s about time. I was told by the “professionals” that no amount of physical therapy would be beneficial to me. I went into a long, spiraling depression because I felt that there was no hope. After 100 years of research, we still have not gotten very far.

  2. Gardenlady says:

    Exercise has never been mentioned encouraged by any of my Neuro’s. I read about the benefits and started my own program. I’ve regained strength and feel better after I exercise. Not easy but there’s so much out there to help you along. A shout out for Trevor and the MS Gym. Check them out on iTunes or Facebook! Exercises and stretches for all levels.

  3. Loralyn Conover says:

    Exercise absolutely helps! I have a gym partner and I can tell you that it really helps me. I feel better after I have gone to the gym, I am not as depressed, my mind is clearer and I just feel better after a workout. It just feels right. My MS doctors told me that it wouldn’t make any difference. WelI I am telling you that they are wrong. You can even just do exrcises in your home. I bought an exercise stationary bike that I can ride here at home and that helps too. Just listen to your body it will tell you if you have done too much or if you need to do more! Get out there and exercise!

  4. Kenneth L Vermilion says:

    Regular exercise has helped me across the board. I ride a recumbent bike, use a treadmill, row, perform stretching exercises, and TRX. My goal is not to buff up but to preserve what I have. I do something every day except Sundays. 30 to 45 min a session. I know it helps because for the past 4 months I have not been able to maintain my regimen and I’ve lost a step or two. I expect to get those steps back. My doctors and physical therapist encourage me to exercise but caution against over doing.

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