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Improved Physical Fitness Correlates with Improved Cognition in Multiple Sclerosis

Meghan Beier, Charles H. Bombardier, Narineh Hartoonian, Robert W. Motl, George H. Kraft

Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, In Press, March 2014


To determine whether there is an association between improvements in objective measures of physical fitness and performance on cognitive tests in people with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Post hoc correlational analysis in which people demonstrating physical improvement were compared with those not demonstrating physical improvement.

Individuals with MS residing in the community.

Adults with clinically confirmed MS (N=88) who participated in a controlled trial of a telephone-based health promotion intervention, chose to work on exercise, and completed the pre- and postintervention assessments.

Participants were measured for strength (isokinetic dynamometer), aerobic fitness (bicycle ergometer), and cognition (Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test [PASAT], Trail Making Test [TMT]) at baseline and 12 weeks later. Change in fitness was calculated by subtracting each participant's baseline score from the outcome score, and then transforming the difference to a z score. Individuals with a z score ≥1 on any fitness measure were placed in the physically improved group (n=25). All others were in the physically not improved group (n=57).

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About the Editors

  • Prof Timothy Vartanian

    Timothy Vartanian, Professor at the Brain and Mind Research Institute and the Department of Neurology, Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell...
  • Dr Claire S. Riley

    Claire S. Riley, MD is an assistant attending neurologist and assistant professor of neurology in the Neurological Institute, Columbia University,...
  • Dr Rebecca Farber

    Rebecca Farber, MD is an attending neurologist and assistant professor of neurology at the Neurological Institute, Columbia University, in New...

This online Resource Centre has been made possible by a donation from EMD Serono, Inc., a business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

Note that EMD Serono, Inc., has no editorial control or influence over the content of this Resource Centre. The Resource Centre and all content therein are subject to an independent editorial review.

The Grant for Multiple Sclerosis Innovation
supports promising translational research projects by academic researchers to improve understanding of multiple sclerosis (MS) for the ultimate benefit of patients.  For full information and application details, please click here

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