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Multiple Sclerosis Falling Studies Seek Participants

multiple sclerosis falling studies

Individuals with multiple sclerosis who live within a reasonable radius of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign may be eligible for one of two studies about falling. Even though falling is a major concern for people with multiple sclerosis, few studies have targeted fall prevention, especially involving home exercise.


Research involving fall prevention for MS patients is important because of the high risk of injury. In fact, some studies indicate the people with multiple sclerosis have a fourfold increased likelihood to experience a hip fracture than people without the disease. Two reasons for this higher risk are the use of steroids, which promote bone loss, and the challenges associated with the progressive decline in mobility experienced by many patients.

Two studies of falling in MS
One of the two fall studies, the home-based exercise trial, is under the direction of Dr. Jacob Sosnoff, associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health at UIBC. Sosnoff and his colleagues are also collaborating on another study that involves individuals who spend 80 percent or more of their time in a wheelchair.

According to Sosnoff, he and his colleagues have been “looking at home-based exercise as a way to minimize falls.” To that end, the one-year study is enrolling 100 individuals with MS who are age 45 or older.

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Before you can be accepted into the study, you must complete an onsite assessment, which will take place at the Motor Control Research Lab, Louise Freer Hall, at UI Champaign. Visit the website for more details about the home-based exercise study.

Those who are accepted into the trial will then be randomly assigned to either the exercise segment or a control group. Those in the former segment will have four group sessions, during which they will learn exercises they are to practice at home over a six-month period. The six-month segment will be preceded and followed by a three-month arm that will involve collection of information about falls experienced by the participants.

Individuals in the control group will receive educational information about fall prevention. However, those in the control group will be given the option to participate in an exercise group once the trial is completed.

The wheelchair study is enrolling 30 individuals ages 18 to 75. Thus far, only 10 patients have been accepted into the trial, according to Jennifer Wajda, Research Coordinator for the Motor Control Research Lab. People with multiple sclerosis who meet the wheelchair qualification are encouraged to apply.

If you or someone you know is in the Champaign area and could benefit from these studies, please contact Jennifer Wajda at 217-300-1696 or write to [email protected] Participants will be compensated for completing their assessment.
Also read: A study about vibrating insoles to help balance in MS
How older adults can prevent falls
Guidelines to prevent falls