Extensive research on both healthy subjects and patients with central nervous damage has elucidated a crucial role of postural adjustment reactions and central sensory integration processes in generating and “shaping” locomotors function, respectively. Whether robotic-assisted gait devices might improve these functions in Multiple sclerosis (MS) patients is not fully investigated in literature.
Purpose: The aim of this study was to compare the effectiveness of robot-assisted gait training (RAGT) and sensory integration balance training (SIBT) in improving walking and balance performance in patients with MS.
Methods: Twenty-two patients with MS (EDSS: 1.5-6.5) were randomly assigned to two groups. The RAGT group (n= 12) underwent end-effector system training. The SIBT group (n=10) underwent specific balance exercises. Each patient received twelve 50-minutes treatment sessions (2 days/week). A blinded rater evaluated patients before and after treatment as well as 1 month posttreatment. Primary outcomes were walking speed and Berg Balance Scale. Secondary outcomes were the Activities-specific Balance Confidence Scale, Sensory Organization Balance Test, Stabilometric Assessment, Fatigue Severity Scale, cadence, step length, single and double support time, Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life-54.
Results: Between groups comparisons showed no significant differences on primary and secondary outcome measures over time. Within group comparisons showed significant improvements in both groups on the Berg Balance Scale (P=.001). Changes approaching significance were found on gait speed (P=.07) only in the RAGT group. Significant changes in balance task-related domains during standing and walking conditions were found in the SIBT group.
Conclusion: Balance disorders in patients with MS may be ameliorated by RAGT and by SIBT.
- 1Department of Neurological Rehabilitation, Private Hospital Villa Melitta, Italy
- 2Neurological Unit, Department of Neurological and Movement Sciences, University of Verona, Italy
- 3Neurological Unit, Sacro Cuore–Don Calabria Hospital, Italy
- 4Department of Neurological and Movement Science., Neuromotor and Cognitive Rehabilitation Research Center, University of Verona, Italy
- 5AOUI Verona, Neurological Rehabilitation, Italy
Hum. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00318