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New Non-Invasive Test Can Evaluate Muscle Health in Multiple Sclerosis

March 30, 2017

A low-cost test has been developed to evaluate the health of patients who have been diagnosed with MS and other spinal cord/nerve injuries. This non-invasive test is only possible with the use of an accelerometer that can measure an increase in muscle endurance.

Muscle endurance level after exercise is considered the main indicator of muscle health in MS patients and otherwise.

The accelerometer is placed on the skin, similar to current technologies found in wearable fitness devices, and uses low-level electronic pulses to mimic brain signals and make muscles move. The device showed great results.

Investigator Kevin McCully, who developed the test with Brad Willingham, said “I’m a real fan of the test. It has a chance to transform the way people study muscles in clinical populations because it’s so simple, easy, and well-tolerated.” Individuals with MS can use the device to determine how much exercise is needed to improve overall muscle health.

An anti-gravity treadmill was used, and patients exercised on it twice a week for 8 weeks. After the workout, investigators evaluated the increase in the patient’s muscle endurance. The results showed a significant increase in muscle health.

This non-invasive test is just one of many tools that can help keep patients upright.

McCully said: “Even if a patient is in a wheelchair, this test shows that exercise will improve their function pretty dramatically,” McCully said. “Brad’s results show this approach works, and his preliminary results with MS patients show tremendous promise to address changes in MS.”