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Instinctive Balance Control in MS

July 15, 2016

A common and disabling symptom of multiple sclerosis is deficit in balance control. A recent study decided to investigate if light finger touch contact with a stationary surface is effective in improving the upright postural stability in those with MS.

In the study, eleven people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis were evaluated while standing on a force platform. A force platform is a tool that measures force and movement while objects or people stand or move across them, they are often used to measure specific aspects of gait and balance.

They stood with their eyes open and closed, their feet shoulder width apart and together and with a light touch contact of the right index finger with a stable surface without any contact. The participants balance were evaluated using center of pressure (COP) measures which can document the amplitude of sway such as in direction, distance and speed.

With their eyes closed and feet together, it was documented that the MS patients demonstrated considerable postural instability. When placing a light finger touch onto a stable surface, their postural sway was significantly reduced in both the front to back (sagittal) direction and the side to side (frontal) direction under each of the experimental conditions.

Therefore, the findings suggest that even the slightest bit of touch contact is effective in improving postural control in those with MS and can be considered useful as a balance and rehabilitative strategy.