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Interesting cooling study involving MS

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  • Interesting cooling study involving MS

    A 35% improvement in physical activity because of cooling? Pretty cool. The below study was released in May. It's important to note that the cooling device used in the study is similar to the Core Control unit I discuss here:

    The device works best to cool down a hot body, but is not as effective in cooling down someone who is mildly overheated. Either way, the preliminary results of the study are encouraging and support the idea of using cooling vests and other cooling technology to stay physically active.... - Dave

    Cooling via one hand improves physical performance in heat-sensitive individuals with Multiple Sclerosis: a preliminary study.

    Dennis A Grahn email, Julie VLS Murray email and H. Craig Heller email

    BMC Neurology 2008, 8:14doi:10.1186/1471-2377-8-14
    Published: 12 May 2008
    Abstract (provisional)

    Many individuals afflicted with multiple sclerosis (MS), experience a transient worsening of symptoms when body temperature increases due to ambient conditions or physical activity. Resulting symptom exacerbations can limit performance. We hypothesized that extraction of heat from the body through the subcutaneous retia venosa that underlie the palmar surfaces of the hands would reduce exercise-related heat stress and thereby increase the physical performance capacity of heat-sensitive individuals with MS.

    Ten ambulatory MS patients completed one or more randomized paired trials of walking on a treadmill in a temperate environment with and without cooling. Stop criteria were symptom exacerbation and subjective fatigue. The cooling treatment entailed inserting one hand into a rigid chamber through an elastic sleeve that formed an airtight seal around the wrist. A small vacuum pump created a -40 mm Hg subatmospheric pressure environment inside the chamber where the palmar surface of the hand rested on a metal surface maintained at 18-22 degrees C. During the treatment trials, the device was suspended from above the treadmill on a bungee cord so the subjects could comfortably keep a hand in the device without having to bear its weight while walking on the treadmill.

    When the trials were grouped by treatment only, cooling treatment increased exercise durations by 33% (43.6 +/- 17.1 min with treatment vs. 32.8 +/- 10.9 min. without treatment, mean +/- SD, p < 5.0 * 10-6, paired t-test, n = 26). When the average values were calculated for the subjects who performed multiple trials before the treatment group results were compared, cooling treatment increased exercise duration by 35% (42.8 +/- 16.4 min with treatment vs. 31.7 +/- 9.8 min. without treatment, mean +/- SD, p < 0.003, paired t-test, n = 10).

    These preliminary results suggest that utilization of the heat transfer capacity of the non-hairy skin surfaces can enable temperature-sensitive individuals with MS to extend participation in day-to-day physical activities despite thermally stressful conditions. However, systematic longitudinal studies in larger cohorts of MS patients with specific deficits and levels of disability conducted under a variety of test conditions are needed to confirm these preliminary findings.
    Dave Bexfield