Interactive exercise training to reduce falls in MS

Dr Phu Hoang

Neuroscience Research Australia, NSW

| Better treatments | Social And Applied Research | Fellowship | 2014 | Investigator Led Research |


Accidental falls are common among people with MS. About 60% people with MS experience at least one fall each 6 months and about 30% have multiple falls. Increased fall risk and fear of falls have been shown to significantly affect quality of life and curtail activities among people with MS. Therefore, effective interventions to reduce fall risk in people with MS are highly needed.

Fall prevention and treatment strategies in MS are still at an early stage. Studies on falls in MS reveal important balance, coordination and cognitive determinants of falls. Based on these results, Dr Hoang will conduct a multi-centre randomised single-blind controlled trial to evaluate and elucidate effective treatment strategies that can help reduce fall risks in people with MS. The proposed trial will enrol approximately 500 people with MS in 3 states: New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia over a period of 36 months.

It is expected that if the research confirms effectiveness of treatment strategies, implementation of clinical interventions will contribute to reduced fall rates in people with MS and associated injury-associated costs, reduced fear of falls and improved quality of life for people with MS.

Project Outcomes

This project aims to assess whether people with MS show improvements in stepping and mobility, and reductions in the number of falls after participating in step training exercises.

So far Dr Hoang have completed a pilot randomized control trial study with 50 people with MS. The findings of the study indicate that the step-training program is feasible, safe and effective in improving stepping, standing balance, coordination and functional performance in people with MS. Dr Hoang is now on the verge of rolling out a large scale multi-centre randomised controlled trial to determine the effects of the home-based step training system on frequency accidental falls in people with MS. This trial aims to recruit about 500 people with MS from 3 cities Sydney, Adelaide and Perth.


  • Hoang PD, Cameron MH, Gandevia SC, Lord SR. Neuropsychological, balance, and mobility risk factors for falls in people with multiple sclerosis: a prospective cohort study. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2014; 95: 480-6.
  • Hoang PD, Gandevia SC, Herbert RD. Prevalence of joint contractures and muscle weakness in people with multiple sclerosis. Disabil Rehabil 2014; 36: 1588-93.
  • Fornusek C, Hoang P. Neuromuscular electrical stimulation cycling exercise for persons with advanced multiple sclerosis. J Rehabil Med 2014; 46: 698-702.
  • van Vliet R, Hoang P, Lord S, Gandevia S, Delbaere K. Multiple sclerosis severity and concern about falling: Physical, cognitive and psychological mediating factors. NeuroRehabilitation 2015; 37: 139-47.
  • Cameron MH, Karstens L, Hoang P, Bourdette D, Lord S. Medications Are Associated with Falls in People with Multiple Sclerosis: A Prospective Cohort Study. Int J MS Care 2015; 17: 207-14.
  • Nilsagard Y, Gunn H, Freeman J, Hoang P, Lord S, Mazumder R, et al. Falls in people with MS--an individual data meta-analysis from studies from Australia, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States. Mult Scler 2015; 21: 92-100.
  • Hoang P, Schoene D, Gandevia S, Smith S, Lord SR. Effects of a home-based step training programme on balance, stepping, cognition and functional performance in people with multiple sclerosis - a randomized controlled trial. Mult Scler 2016; 22: 94-103.
  • Brodie MA, Psarakis M, Hoang P. Gyroscopic corrections improve wearable sensor data prior to measuring dynamic sway in the gait of people with Multiple Sclerosis. Comput Methods Biomech Biomed Engin 2016: 1-8
  • Mylou Tijsma, Eva Vister, Phu Hoang, and Stephen Lord (2016). A simple test of choice stepping reaction time for assessing fall risk in people with MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS - A simple test of choice stepping reaction time for assessing fall risk in people with multiple sclerosis. Disabili & Rehab. Early online 17.3.2016. DOI: 10.3109/09638288.2016.1148784.
  • Phu D Hoang, Meryem Baysan, Hilary Gunn, Michelle Cameron, Jenny Freeman
  • Jennifer Nitz, Nancy Low Choy and Stephen R Lord (2016). Fall risk in people with MS:a physiological profile assessment study. Multiple Sclerosis Journal - Experimental, Translational and Clinical – Multiple Sclerosis Journal - Experimental, Translational and Clinical January-December 2016 vol. 2 DOI: 10.1177/2055217316641130.

Updated: 24 May 2016

Updated: 05 January, 2014



  • Professor Stephen Lord, Neuroscience Research Australia, NSW

Grant Awarded

  • Postdoctoral Fellowship

Total Funding

  • $196,000


  • 3 years over 2014 - 2016

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Interactive exercise training to reduce falls in MS