DG DISPATCH - EFNS
By Alice Goodman Special to DG News
LISBON, PORTUGAL -- Sept. 9, 1999 -- Physical rehabilitation offers benefits to patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) despite producing no change in impairment, according to research presented at the fourth congress of the European Federation of Neurological Societies, in Lisbon, Portugal.
Patients who participated in an in-patient physical rehabilitation program demonstrated improvement in disability and in the mental components of health-related quality of life compared to those who performed exercises at home.
The findings from this randomised, single-blind, prospective, controlled study were presented today by A. Solari, MD, Istituto Nazionale Neurologico, Milan, Italy.
A total of 50 ambulatory MS patients were randomised to receive either in-patient physical rehabilitation for three weeks followed by self-executed exercises at home or home exercises only. To be eligible for the study, patients had to have an expanded disability symptom score (EDSS) between 3.0 and 6.5. All patients were required to abstain from their MS medications during the study period.
No change in MS-related impairment was found in either group throughout
the study. At the three-week visit, 12 patients (39 percent) in the study
group had improved by at least two steps of the Functional Independence
Measure (FIM) compared to two (eight percent) in the control group. At
nine weeks, 12 patients (39 percent) in the study group continued to demonstrate
the same improvement compared to one patient in the control group. At 18
weeks of follow-up, eight patients (25 percent) in the study group were
improved compared to one in the control group.