Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that affects well-known individuals such as former Mouseketeer, Annette Funicello; actress, Teri Garr; Anne Romney, wife of Republican candidate for President, Mitt Romney; and talk show host, Montel Williams. It affects women more than men, and is most commonly diagnosed between ages 20 and 40.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Michigan Chapter, reports it serves approximately 18,000 people with MS in the state. Multiple sclerosis is a neurodegenerative disease that causes periodic attacks of neurological symptoms such as limb weakness and mobility defects.
An early diagnosis of MS is critical in implementing a treatment and early intervention program that can make a real difference in the patient’s quality of life. With that in mind, researchers from Tel Aviv’s University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Multiple Sclerosis Centre in Sheba Medical Center, Tel-Hashomer, have discovered that specific laboratory tests for leg muscle endurance and gait, (the pattern of movement while walking or running), are highly effective in identifying mobility deficits at the initial stage of MS. Reduced muscle endurance may be one of the earliest signs of MS and is a common complaint among patients.
Their study, which was published in the Journal of Neurologic Physiotherapy, involved 52 patients in the early stage of MS, and a control group of 28 healthy subjects. Lower limb muscle strength and endurance of patients were measured while being asked to perform specific exercises; and on average, those in the early stages of MS were not able to maintain their strength.
The study also showed specific abnormalities by examining walking patterns. Patients in the early stages of MS tend to walk with a wider base because walking with your legs further apart helps to improve stability. They also walked more slowly, in an asymmetrical pattern with shorter steps. Researcher, Dr. Alon Kalron stated, “If we find the abnormalities earlier, then we can start intervention programs when they have a chance to benefit the most.”
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Notable people with MS
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