Outcome Measures in Exercise Studies for People with Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a progressive neurological condition which affects between 2 and 150 people per 100,000 depending on the population. Exercise aims to positively affect the symptoms associated with MS, optimise function and maintain health and well being. As such, exercise is one of the key components of rehabilitation and long term management of people with MS.
There is increasing evidence of the positive effects of exercise for people with MS. A Cochrane Review published in 2005 however concluded that statistical pooling of the data from MS exercise studies was not possible due to the large number of outcome measures used and that there was an urgent need for a consensus on a core set of outcome measures for exercise studies in MS (Reitberg et al. 2005). More recent reviews have similarly been unable to recommend specific exercise regimes for people with MS partly due to the fact that multiple outcome measures are used (Dalgas et al 2008, Motl and Gosney 2008, Asano et al. 2009).
In an attempt to address this issue an international, multidisciplinary group of experts in the field of exercise for people with MS met at the University of Glasgow to reach consensus on a core group of outcome measures to be used in studies of exercise in MS. The meeting was funded by the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation and supported by the MS Society. The group from the UK, Ireland, New Zealand and the USA consisted of physiotherapists, exercise physiologists, health psychologist, health economist and two people with MS as well as a representative from the MS Society.
A consensus was reached on a core group of outcome measures which the group will publish later this year. For further details please contact Lorna Paul at Nursing & Health Care School (Lorna.Paul@glasgow.ac.uk).