While many persons with multiple sclerosis struggle to perform normal daily activities, an exercise program appears to have a positive effect on MS by bolstering the immune system and reducing inflammation, researchers at the University at Buffalo have shown.
Results presented last October at Experimental Biology 2002, the annual meeting of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, showed that a 16-week program of resistance exercise lowered levels of several proinflammatory blood components and increased levels of certain anti-inflammatory factors.
The researchers are aiming to test the theory that a program of resistance exercises will lessen the fatigue MS patients experience after the activities of a regular workday and decrease the amount of fatigue that remains the next morning. Exercisers use machines or free weights, concentrating on improving muscular strength, endurance and contraction speed in the arms and legs. If inflammation of nerve tissue plays a major role in MS symptoms, as several studies have implied, reducing inflammation could improve the ability to perform daily activities.
Blood samples of 13 MS patients were taken before and after the 16-week exercise program. Analysis of samples showed a decrease in proinflammatory cytokines (tumor necrosis factor-(and interleukin 1)) and a significant increase in anti-inflammatory components (interleukins 4 and 6).
"Resistance exercise possibly may induce changes in the bodys immune
function by lowering levels of cytokines and chemokines, which would modulate
inflammation, which in turn would decrease fatigue and improve physical
performance," explained the presenting author.
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