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STUDY: Thermoregulatory dysfunction in MS during moderate exercise

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  • STUDY: Thermoregulatory dysfunction in MS during moderate exercise

    Thermoregulatory dysfunction in multiple sclerosis patients during moderate exercise in a thermoneutral environment

    Mu Huang1,
    Nathan Morris2,
    Ollie Jay3 and
    Scott Davis1

    Author Affiliations
    1Applied Physiology Southern Methodist University Dallas TX United States
    2School of Human Kinetics University of Ottawa Ottawa ON Canada
    3Faculty of Health Sciences University of Sydney Sydney Australia


    Impairments in sudomotor function during passive heat stress have been reported in multiple sclerosis (MS), a demyelinating disease of the CNS that disrupts autonomic function. However, little is known regarding exercise induced increases in core body temperature on thermoregulatory mechanisms in MS. Thus, the aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that thermoregulatory function is impaired in MS patients compared to healthy controls (CN) during moderate exercise.

    Thermoregulatory function in five patients diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS and five mass-matched healthy controls were compared during a single bout of cycling exercise (fixed workload of 70 Watts) for 30-60 minutes in a climate-controlled room (25C, 30% RH).

    Sweating thermosensitivity (MS: 0.560.15 vs CN: 0.810.13, p=0.04) was significantly lower while a delay in sweating onset time (MS: 14.810.0 min vs CN: 5.61.6 min, p=0.07) approached significance in MS patients compared to controls.

    These altered mechanisms of body temperature regulation likely contributed to a greater observed change in core body temperature measured rectally (MS: 0.840.34 C vs CN: 0.370.27 C, p=0.04) in patients with MS. This observed thermoregulatory dysfunction in MS patients may intensify disease symptoms limiting exercise tolerance.
    Dave Bexfield

  • #2
    so we do "sweat it"

    Am I understanding the study results that MSers don't get the "hot" message as soon and don't get the cooling help of sweat until hotter than non-MSers?
    It almost seems as if I get the "hot" message after the sweat starts to pour & pour. This sounds stupid but if you've experienced it you understand. I'm a "reformed" long distance runner & I associated heat & a good sweat with a good release of endorphins. Now I've got to think "backwards" and love the good workout swimming gives.
    Is this study a good reminder about the importance of the "cold plunges" my neurologist recommends?


    • #3
      Really interesting.

      I completely relate to this study. Since my diagnosis (after 2-3 total relapses), when I get hot exercising, I get HOT. Like trying to work out in a stuffy attic on a 100 degree day uncomfortable hot. And yes, i definitely sweat too little/late. It is manageable - just gotta get nekkid! My bike team just thinks of me as the girl who rides in a sports bra always, and wonders why I show up for fall night rides in a tank top when its 50 degrees out.