Physical activity is associated with neuromuscular and physical function in patients with multiple sclerosis independent of disease severity

Scott Rooney, Morten Riemenschneider, Ulrik Dalgas, Marie-Louise K Jørgensen, Anne-Sophie Michelsen, Jan C Brønd, Lars G Hvid

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Examine the association between physical activity and neuromuscular and physical function in patients with multiple sclerosis when also considering disease severity. Methods: 91 patients with multiple sclerosis were enrolled. Assessments included physical activity by 7-day thigh-worn accelerometry, knee extensor neuromuscular function by dynamometry (maximal isometric muscle strength, rate of force development (0-50 ms)), and physical function by 5× sit-to-stand, 2-min walk test, and timed 25 ft walk test. Physical activity tertile comparisons along with simple and multiple regressions (adjusting for age, gender, EDSS, time since diagnosis) were performed. Results: Physical activity tertiles revealed differences (p < 0.05) in maximal muscle strength (1.77 ≈ 1.97 < 2.28 Nm/kg), rate of force development (4.66 < 8.03 ≈ 10.55 Nm/kg/s), 5× sit-to-stand (11.4 ≈ 9.7 > 8.5 s), 2-min walk test (153 < 183 < 207 m), and timed 25 ft walk test (6.3 > 4.4 > 4.3 s). Moreover, physical activity was associated (p < 0.05) with maximal muscle strength and rate of force development (r2  =  0.13-0.15) along with 5× sit-to-stand, 2-min walk test, and timed 25 ft walk test (r2 = 0.18-0.24), also after adjusting for age + gender + EDSS + time since diagnosis (r2 = 0.25-0.37 and 0.24-0.52), with physical activity consistently being a strong predictor. Conclusions: Higher levels of physical activity are associated with greater neuromuscular and physical function in ambulatory patients with multiple sclerosis independent of disease severity. These findings emphasize the importance of performing regular physical activity at all stages of multiple sclerosis. IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION Physical activity is associated with neuromuscular and physical function, independent of disease severity. Physical activity may be important in improving or preserving neuromuscular and physical function at all stages of ambulatory multiple sclerosis patients, yet longitudinal studies are warranted. Clinicians and rehabilitation professionals should encourage ambulatory patients at all stages of their disease to be as physically active as possible.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability and rehabilitation
Volume43
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)632-639
ISSN0963-8288
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • disease severity
  • muscle strength
  • neuromuscular function
  • physical activity
  • physical function

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