Muscle Endurance Tests May Help Detect Early MS

Researchers from Tel Aviv University say that muscle endurance tests can help detect abnormalities in mobility at the early stages of multiple sclerosis. Dr. Alon Kalron and his team of researchers from Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine as well as from the Multiple Sclerosis Centre in Sheba Medical Center, Tel-Hashomer have found out that typical muscle tests for determining leg muscle endurance and gait are also highly effective in trying to identify mobility abnormalities in the early stages of MS. These types of abnormalities are quite difficult to determine during a standard neurological testing.

Multiple sclerosis is a type of disease that features a number of neurological symptoms such as mobility problems and muscle weakness in the limbs. While most people suffering from MS are regularly tested and examined when it comes to muscle strength and mobility traits, it can be quite difficult for doctors to determine at its early stages where proper intervention may be able to provide quite some help.

According to Dr. Kalron, along with the supervision of Profs. Anat Achiron and Zeevi Dvir, patients suffering from MS have around 40 percent less muscle endurance than normal people, even at its early stages. There were also distinct differences observed in their walking patterns. The study can help researchers further understand the mechanisms underlying the development of MS and how doctors may be able to improve and manage the symptoms associated with the disease.

Reduced muscle endurance is one of the earliest signs being exhibited by patients with MS. It is also a common complaint but can be very hard to detect. In order to study the effects of muscle fatigue in patients with MS, the researchers conducted a study involving 52 participants known to be in the earliest stages of MS and a control group composed of 28 healthy participants. The participants were examined using an isokinetic dynamometer, a special device used for measuring limb muscle strength and endurance.

The participants were made to bend or straighten their knee exerting maximum effort. They were also made to maintain this position for 30 seconds. Muscle endurance is measured by the decline of muscle strength during this period.

The results of the study showed that patients with MS were not able to maintain this strength, at about 40 percent less than the control group. The researchers also examined the walking patterns of the two groups. They also found out specific abnormalities in walking distinct in the group of MS patients. People suffering from the early stages of MS tend to walk with a wider base for added stability, may be as a means to compensate for the muscle weakness that most MS patients feel. In addition, the MS patients in the study also tend to walk more slowly, in an asymmetrical pattern and using shorter steps.

Source:  http://www.aftau.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=15901

 
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