J Neurol. 2013 Dec 10. [Epub ahead of print]

Randomized controlled trial of physical activity, cognition, and walking in
multiple sclerosis.

Sandroff BM, Klaren RE, Pilutti LA, Dlugonski D, Benedict RH, Motl RW.

Author information:
Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 233 Freer Hall, 906 South Goodwin Ave., Urbana, IL, 61801, USA.

The present study adopted a randomized controlled trial design and examined the
effect of a physical activity behavioral intervention on cognitive and walking
performance among persons with MS who have mild or moderate disability status. A
total of 82 MS patients were randomly allocated into intervention or wait-list
control conditions. The intervention condition received a theory-based program
for increasing physical activity behavior that was delivered via the Internet,
and one-on-one video chat sessions with a behavior-change coach. Participants
completed self-report measures of physical activity and disability status, and
underwent the oral Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT) and 6-minute walk (6MW)
test before and after the 6-month period. Analysis using mixed-model ANOVA
indicated a significant time condition disability group interaction on SDMT
scores (p = 0.02, partial-η (2) = 0.08), such that persons with mild disability
in the intervention condition demonstrated a clinically meaningful improvement in
SDMT scores (~6 point change). There was a further significant time condition
interaction on 6MW distance (p = 0.02, partial-η (2) = 0.07), such that those in
the intervention condition demonstrated an increase in 6MW distance relative to
those in the control group. The current study supports physical activity as a
promising tool for managing cognitive impairment and impaired walking performance
in persons with MS, and suggests that physical activity might have specific
effects on cognition and non-specific effects on walking performance in this
population.

PMID: 24323244