Kessler researchers awarded grant to study effects of exercise in patients with MS

With a grant from the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers, John DeLuca, PhD, Helen Genova, PhD, of Kessler Foundation, will study the effects of different exercise regimens across multiple realms of symptoms and functioning in individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS). Dr. DeLuca is senior vice president for Research and Training and Dr. Genova is assistant director of the Center for Neuropsychology and Neuroscience Research. Rosalia Dacosta Aguayo, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center, will assist with the pilot study.

Individuals with MS experience a range of disabling symptoms, which can be cognitive, physical and emotional in nature. Recent research suggests that physical activity may significantly benefit individuals with MS and lessen their symptoms. Despite this research, many individuals with MS are hesitant to exercise for various reasons, including heat sensitivity, weakness and spasticity.

Different types of exercise can offer differential benefits for those with MS, but few studies have been conducted in this area. According to Dr. Genova, this study will look at the effects of types of exercise (such as aquatic exercise or stretching) on the full range of MS-related symptoms, and evaluate the functional consequences.

We will measure the effects of exercise on cognition, fatigue, physical functioning, and overall wellness and quality of life. Finding benefits across these multiple realms would focus attention on exercise regimens as low-risk noninvasive interventions that may improve the lives of individuals with MS."

Helen Genova, PhD, Kessler Foundation

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