Improved physical fitness correlates with improved cognition in multiple sclerosis.

TitleImproved physical fitness correlates with improved cognition in multiple sclerosis.
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsBeier M, Bombardier CH, Hartoonian N, Motl RW, Kraft GH
JournalArch Phys Med Rehabil
Date Published2014 Jul

OBJECTIVE: 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). DESIGN: Post hoc correlational analysis in which people demonstrating physical improvement were compared with those not demonstrating physical improvement. SETTING: Individuals with MS residing in the community. PARTICIPANTS: 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. INTERVENTIONS: 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). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES TMT, PASAT RESULTS: After controlling for covariates (age, sex, ethnicity, education, disease activity, MS type), there was a significant group-by-time interaction, suggesting that cognitive functioning changed over time based on level of fitness. Participants in the physically improved group demonstrated improved performance on measures of executive functioning after 12 weeks of exercise. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study lend support to the hypothesis that change in fitness is associated with improved executive functioning in people with MS.

Alternate JournalArch Phys Med Rehabil
PubMed ID24607835

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