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Wednesday

 

MS research update – Could Pilates have cognitive benefits as well as physical?


























Image Source: INJOYLADYKURSPLAN

Summary:
Some research has investigated the use of Pilates for people with MS, but few studies have focused on clinical Pilates. This is a programme that focuses on core stability.

20 people with MS completed the study, they were split into two groups. The first adhered to a clinical Pilates programme and the second a traditional exercise programme for eight weeks.

The study found that both clinical Pilates and traditional exercise improved performance on some physical tests. Those in the Pilates group had significant improvements in balance, fatigue and tiredness and they had greater improvements in their cognitive symptoms and quality of life when compared to the traditional exercise group participants.

It was already known that exercise has several benefits for people with MS, including improving mobility and symptoms but this study shows clinical Pilates could lead to bigger improvements in cognitive symptoms and quality of life over traditional exercise.

Background:
Previous research has shown that exercise has numerous benefits for people with MS, including improving strength and mobility. The majority of the research to date has been focused on strengthening and aerobic type exercises. Some research has investigated the use of Pilates for people with MS, most often focusing on physical aspects such as balance and strength, but few studies have focused on clinical Pilates. This is a programme that focuses on core stability and includes a breathing component too. It is often used by physiotherapists as a rehabilitation tool. In studies conducted in the general population clinical Pilates programmes have been shown to improve flexibility, balance and endurance.

This study aimed to investigate the use of clinical Pilates for people with MS further and see if it could improve cognitive and other symptoms as well as physical functions.

How this study was carried out:
37 people with MS in Turkey were recruited to take part and 20 completed the study. To take part all had to be aged over 18 years and have an EDSS score of six or lower.

Participants were randomly allocated to one of two groups:
Clinical Pilates programme with a physiotherapist – the key elements of this programme were breathing, focus, and placement of the head, neck, shoulders and rib cage.
Traditional exercise programme (control group) – this included strength, balance and coordination exercises.
Participants took part in a 45 minute session, twice a week for eight weeks.

Before and after the eight week study period participants went through several assessments of cognition, fatigue, depression, balance, coordination, mobility, physical performance, disability and quality of life. You can read more about the individual tests performed in the full text of the paper (link is external) which is available to read for free.

What was found:
After the eight weeks programme participants in both the Pilates and the traditional exercise groups had improved performance on some physical tests. The Pilates participants had significant improvements in balance, fatigue, tiredness and cognitive symptoms after the eight week programme.

Those in the Pilates group had greater improvements in their cognitive symptoms and quality of life when compared to the control group participants.

What does it mean:
It was already known that exercise has several benefits for people with MS, including improving mobility and symptoms. This study shows that that a type of Pilates, known as clinical Pilates (which a programme lead by a physiotherapist and focuses on core stability), could lead to bigger improvements in cognitive symptoms and quality of life over traditional exercise.

Although the results are encouraging the study did have a relatively low number of participants as so many dropped out after the start and it only looked at the effect of exercise and Pilates over 8 weeks. The researchers are now running a longer study with more participants to confirm their results and investigate the longer term effects.

Küçük F, Kara B, Poyraz EÇ, İdiman E.
Improvements in cognition, quality of life, and physical performance with clinical Pilates in multiple sclerosis: a randomized controlled trial.

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by MULTIPLESCLEROSISTRUST
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length

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