AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 27, Number 2, 2018


Exercise May be Associated with Reduced Disease Activity in Children with MS

According to new research published in the journal Neurology, children with multiple sclerosis (MS) who exercise regularly may have a less active disease. “Up to three-quarters of children with MS experience depression, tiredness, or memory and thinking impairment,” said the study’s author. “Our research is important since little is known regarding how lifestyle behaviors may affect the disease.” During the study, 31 children with MS and 79 who had experienced a single inflammatory neurologic even were given questionnaires regarding their levels of tiredness, depression and how often the exercised. Of those, 60 were also given MRIs to measure brain volume and the amount and type of MS lesions they had. Only 45 percent of the children with MS reported participating in any strenuous physical activity, compared to 82 percent of the other children. The children with MS who took part in strenuous physical activity were more likely to have a lower overall amount of lesions in the brain that indicate disease activity, or T2 lesions, when compared to the children with MS who did not participate in strenuous activity. The children with MS also had higher levels of tiredness and depression compared to the other children studied and there were no differences in whole brain volumes. The results were the same after researchers adjusted for the severity of the children’s disease, and the overall findings of the study add to the possibility that physical activity may have a beneficial effect on the health of the brain. To read more about this study, click here.

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