New thesis about balance control in people with MS
Hi Andreas Wallin, PhD student at the Division of Physiotherapy. On January 27 you will defend your thesis "Balance Control in People with Multiple Sclerosis: Mechanisms, Experiences, Design and Feasibility of an Exercise Trial", what is the main focus of the thesis?
The thesis is about balance control in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). The included papers evaluate: reliability of the balance test, mini-BESTest; impact on motor and cognitive performance when doing two things simultaneously (dual-tasking), either walking or balancing standing while simultaneously performing a cognitive task; and on the feasibility of a developed balance training intervention.
Which are the most important results?
The mini-BESTest is reliable and suitable for assessment of balance control in people with MS. Reduced motor-cognitive dual-task capacity occurred in both people with moderate and with mild MS. Furthermore, people with MS described that balance impairment limited and affected performance and participation in everyday activities. In order to continue to maintain the ability to be active in everyday life and maintain their quality of life despite impaired balance, people with MS used compensatory strategies. Finally, the overall trial design and delivery of the designed intervention was found to be feasible for a full-scale trial.
How can this new knowledge contribute to the improvement of people’s health?
Assessment of balance control in the clinic in combination with interviewing about the individual’s experiences of how impaired balance diminishes participation in various activities might contribute to a more person-centred care and rehabilitation, which in turn might increase both quality and efficiency of therapy. In addition, the hypothesis is that the developed balance training intervention will have a positive effect on balance control and walking ability in people with MS.
What's in the future for you? Will you continue to conduct research?
The work with these studies has been very interesting and rewarding, so my ambition is to continue with research in the future.