People with MS are at a greater risk of falling than the general community. This is a critical feature of MS that can be influenced by a range of symptoms and impairments experienced by people with MS and directly affects mobility and activities of daily living.
Whole body vibration is a technology that is thought to enhance muscle tone and motor control. It is not known if this technology is more effective than standard exercise in reducing the risk of falls or improving mobility in people with MS.
In this project Dr David Kennedy and his team aim to investigate if whole-body vibration improves mobility and reduces the number of falls in people with MS. People recruited to this study will perform exercises at least three times a week, over a twelve week period. One group will perform them on a stable surface, the other on a vibration platform. Dr Kennedy and his team will measure the number of falls over a six month period, general mobility, endurance and walking speed.
This study is unique as it will assess benefits of whole body vibration in a home based setting, which has greater functional implications for people with MS.
Dr Kennedy and his team are continuing to recruit patients and conduct the program for participants in this trial, To date, 16 people have completed the exercise program and post-exercise testing. Another 10 will complete the trial by mid 2017, with a third group beginning in April 2017. The final 2 groups are planned to start throughout 2017. This trial has been performed in multiple groups due to a limited number of whole body vibration platforms.
As this is a blinded trial, where the researchers are unaware of the exercise method the participants have been performing, Dr Kennedy and his team have not yet analysed the results. The researchers will be comparing results from two measures of balance and mobility, the Choice Reaction Stepping Time (CRST) and the Physiological Profile Assessment (PPA). The preliminary results, validating these two outcome measures within the context of this trial have been presented at a national conference.
This incubator grant has also enabled Dr Kennedy to support the training of a student leading to the production of their Honours thesis.
This study has the potential to produce an accessible therapy to reduce the number of falls in people with MS.
Updated: 11 July 2017
Updated: 03 January, 2016