Dual task training in persons with Multiple Sclerosis: a feasability randomized controlled trial

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Abstract

Objective:

To determine the feasibility of dual task training in persons with Multiple Sclerosis.

Design:

Randomized, single-blinded controlled trial.

Setting:

University research laboratory.

Participants:

A total of 234 individuals inquired about the investigation. After screening, 20 individuals with multiple sclerosis who self-reported problems with multitasking and were ambulatory volunteered for the investigation. 14 participants completed the post-assessment following the 12-week intervention.

Intervention:

Participants were randomly assigned to either single task training program which focused on balance and walking function (n=6) or dual task training program that incorporated cognitive tasks in balance and walking training (n=8).

Measures:

Before and after the 12-week interventions participants underwent assessments of walking; dual task walking; balance (Berg Balance Scale and balance confidence) and cognition as indexed by the Brief International Cognitive Assessment for MS.

Results:

There was an 8.5% recruitment rate, a 70% retention rate, and a 100% adherence rate. There was a trend for dual task gait speed to improve in the dual task training group following the intervention (Pre: task 1: 109.8±39, task 2: 104.2±34.1; Post: task 1:127.6±40.1, task 2: 122.8±37.4; P=0.14; η2 = 0.24). There was also a trend for the dual task training group (28.1) to have greater performance than the control group (24.7) on visuospatial memory (P=0.10; η2= 0.23). There were no changes in cognitive performance during walking trials.

Conclusions:

The study procedures were found to be feasible and improvements should be made in recruitment efforts going forward. Further examination of dual task training programs in individuals with multiple sclerosis is warranted.

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