Archive for the ‘exercise’ Category

Exercise and ms

Friday, February 26th, 2010

I just read an interesting article called Exercise Helps Protect Brain Of Multiple Sclerosis Patients. Apparently tests were done on people who were physically fit as opposed to those who weren’t and several differences were noted. Fit msers performed significantly better on tests of cognitive function and showed less damage in parts of the brain that show deterioration as a result of MS, as well as a greater volume of vital gray matter. Whoo hoo! I knew that all this running was doing something positive as far as the ms was concerned.

“We found that aerobic fitness has a protective effect on parts of the brain that are most affected by multiple sclerosis,” said Ruchika Shaurya Prakash, lead author of the study and assistant professor of psychology at Ohio State University.

“As a result, these fitter patients actually show better performance on tasks that measure processing speed.”

“Physically fit MS patients had fewer lesions compared to those who weren’t as fit and the lesions they did have tended to be smaller,” Prakash said. “This is significant and can help explain why the higher-fit patients did better on tests of brain functioning.”

Aerobic fitness was also associated with less-damaged brain tissue in MS patients, both the gray matter and white matter.

“For a long time, MS patients were told not to exercise because there was a fear it could exacerbate their symptoms,” she said.

“But we’re finding that if MS patients exercise in a controlled setting, it can actually help them with their cognitive function.”

To me this old school of thinking just illustrates how little we know about the brain and ms, good to hear we are learning more all the time. I have to wonder how on track (or how far off) the scientific community is in their current thinking especially when it comes to drug therapy. I do know that since I have been on rebif I haven’t had another set of symptoms pop up so that is a positive. But I wonder is that the drug or just the disease? I have heard of several people who have gone off of their drugs (different ones that they were on, not just rebif) and their symptoms flared up, so maybe it is the drugs.

I feel very positive that we will see a cure in the coming years, it seems like a lot of ms research (seen in my admittedly peripheral view) has been making great progress towards therapy and understanding of this disease. I also think that we have seen an increase in the disease whether that has been diagnosis or an actual increase I don’t now. But basically ms has become the disease to have! This popularity can only mean more funding for research which will obviously lead to advancement in treatments like the new ms pill that is on the market (though I have heard plenty of bad things about it, though it sure would be nice to not have to give injections to myself…)