WASHINGTON -- Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system of 400,000 Americans with 200 more diagnosed each week. The disease causes reduced nerve function and consequently a variety of symptoms. The most commonly reported symptoms include muscle weakness, spasticity, excess fatigue and depression, which often results in a vicious cycle of reduced mobility and decreased physical activity. Reduced activity level predisposes people with MS to be at increased risk for secondary diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis and coronary artery disease (CAD).
In an effort to improve the health status of those with MS, a team of researchers worked with individuals diagnosed with mild to moderate disability in an eight week aerobic cycling regimen. The investigators found that people with MS improved their aerobic fitness and reduced their level of CAD risk.
These findings are drawn from a study entitled Aerobic Exercise Influence on Coronary Artery Disease Risk Factors in Multiple Sclerosis. It was conducted by Darpan Patel, Vanessa Castellano, Sean McCoy, Ashley Blazina and Lesley White, all of the University of Florida, Department of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology, Gainesville, FL. Patel will present the teams findings at the 120th annual meeting of the American Physiological Society (APS; www.The-APS.org), being held as part of the Experimental Biology conference (EB 07). More than 12,000 scientific researchers will attend the gathering being held April 28-May 2, 2007 at the Washington, DC Convention Center.
The Study: Summary of Methodology
Eleven MS patients and 11 matched controls (age, sex, body mass index) participated in the study. MS patients were clinically stable and had mild to moderate disability. All volunteers (MS and control subjects) had physician clearance and met specific inclusion/exclusion criteria.