Walking speed a good gauge of MS disability, study says

October 30, 2013
Walking speed a good gauge of MS disability, study says
This measurement may reflect ability to perform everyday household activities.

(HealthDay)—Measuring the walking speed of multiple sclerosis patients can help doctors assess progression of the disease and the severity of disability, a new study suggests.

In people with (MS), the immune system damages the protective myelin sheath around the body's nerves.

"We already know that the timed 25-foot walk test is a meaningful way to measure disability in MS," study author Dr. Myla Goldman, of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, said in a news release from the American Academy of Neurology. "Our study builds on that research by providing a clearer idea of how walk time can provide information about how a person's and disability impacts their everyday activities and real-world function."

The study included 254 MS patients who were timed as they walked 25 feet. Those who took longer than 6 seconds to walk that distance were more likely to be unemployed, to have changed jobs because of MS and their ability, to use a cane, and to require help with such as cooking and house cleaning.

For example, 59 percent of those who took less than 6 seconds to walk 25 feet were employed, compared to 29 percent of those who took longer than 6 seconds. Just 43 percent of the faster walkers had changed jobs because of MS, compared to 71 percent of slower walkers.

Patients who took 8 seconds or longer to walk 25 feet were more likely to be unemployed, to use Medicaid or Medicare, be divorced and use a walker. They were more than 70 percent more likely to be unable to perform daily activities such as house cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry and cooking, according to the study published online Oct. 30 in the journal Neurology.

Based on the study findings, "we propose that a timed 25-foot walk performance of 6 seconds or more and 8 seconds or more represent meaningful benchmarks of MS progression," Goldman added in the news release.

Explore further: MS research could help repair damage affecting nerves

More information: The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about multiple sclerosis.

Related Stories

MS research could help repair damage affecting nerves

July 21, 2013
Multiple sclerosis treatments that repair damage to the brain could be developed thanks to new research.

Eye scan could help track progress of multiple sclerosis

December 24, 2012
(HealthDay)—In-office eye scans that assess the thinning of the retina may also help doctors determine how fast multiple sclerosis (MS) is progressing in patients with the nervous system disease, a new study suggests.

Mobility key to quality of life for MS sufferers

May 18, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Reduced mobility among patients with secondary‐progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) is associated with a decline in quality of life, according to new data presented today at the 7th World Congress ...

New exercise guidelines developed for people with MS

October 11, 2013
According to new research out of Queen's University, an active lifestyle has many benefits for adults living with multiple sclerosis. Based on that research, Amy Latimer-Cheung (School of Kinesiology and Health Studies) has ...

Cannabis constituent has no effect on MS progression, study shows

July 23, 2013
The first large non-commercial clinical study to investigate whether the main active constituent of cannabis (tetrahydrocannabinol or THC) is effective in slowing the course of progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), shows that ...

Recommended for you

Activating brain region creates intense desire to use cocaine

August 22, 2017
Researchers have identified a portion of the brain that intensifies one's desire for certain rewards—in this case, mimicking addiction to cocaine.

Brain region mediates pleasure of eating

August 22, 2017
Providing the body with food is essential for survival. But even when full, we can still take pleasure in eating. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried and the Friedrich Miescher Institute ...

Chronic stress induces fatal organ dysfunctions via a new neural circuit

August 22, 2017
Hokkaido University researchers revealed that fatal gut failure in a multiple sclerosis (MS) mouse model under chronic stress is caused by a newly discovered nerve pathway. The findings could provide a new therapeutic strategy ...

Contact in sports may lead to differences in the brains of young, healthy athletes

August 22, 2017
People who play contact sports show changes to their brain structure and function, with sports that have greater risk of body contact showing greater effects on the brain, a new study has found.

Research reveals 'exquisite selectivity' of neuronal wiring in the cerebral cortex

August 21, 2017
The brain's astonishing anatomical complexity has been appreciated for over 100 years, when pioneers first trained microscopes on the profusion of branching structures that connect individual neurons. Even in the tiniest ...

Afternoon slump in reward response

August 21, 2017
Activation of a reward-processing brain region peaks in the morning and evening and dips at 2 p.m., finds a study of healthy young men published in The Journal of Neuroscience. This finding may parallel the drop in alertness ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.