Vibration Training Enhances Cognition, Quality of Life in MS Patients

This is the first study to examine the effects of vibration training on changing cognition and quality of life in people with multiple sclerosis.

Cognitive impairments are common in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) but addressing this can be challenging. Few effective interventions are available to restore or preserve cognitive function for individuals with MS, according to the authors of a new study.

To address the cognitive issues associated with MS, Feng Yang, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health at Georgia State University in Atlanta, and colleagues looked to whole-body vibration training, or vibration training, which has been “increasingly used as a novel clinical prevention and rehabilitation tool in individuals with movement disorders,” the wrote in the International Journal of MS Care.

During vibration training, trainees stand or sit on a platform vibrating at specific frequencies and amplitudes. “The intense mechanical oscillation from the platform stimulates various sensorimotor units of the human body and leads to improvements in sensorimotor functions,” Yang wrote.

Mounting evidence supports that a short-term (6-week to 10-week) vibration training course improves physical functions, such as balance, mobility, strength, and power, in older adults, they wrote. Additionally, previous studies found positive effects of vibration training on cognitive functions in healthy adults and children and in people with pathologic conditions, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and dementia.

This is the first study to examine the possible effects of vibration training on changing cognition and quality of life (QOL) in people with MS.

Yang and his team randomized 18 adults with MS into 2 groups: vibration training and control. The control group maintained their normal lifestyle throughout the study.

In both groups, before and after the training course, the disability status was evaluated by the Patient Determined Disease Steps scale and the Multiple Sclerosis Functional Composite (MSFC). Cognitive function was assessed by the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function-Adults (BRIEF-A) and the Buschke Selective Reminding Test (SRT), and QOL was gauged by the 36-item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36).

All participants finished the entire protocol with no adverse events. The training group showed greater improvements in MSFC score, Metacognition Index score of the BRIEF, SRT score, and physical domain score of the SF-36.

For the quality-of-life endpoint, the training group, but not the control group, experienced a significant improvement in the Physical Component Summary (PCS). Additionally, the between-group difference in the PCS value further increased at the post-training session. The training group displayed higher Mental Component Summary values than the control group.

“The results indicate that the 6-week progressive vibration program is safe, feasible, and tolerable to individuals with MS,” Yang wrote. "This training program could be effective in improving cognitive function, QOL, and disability status in individuals with MS.”

The results provide an encouraging base to conduct a large-scale clinical trial, Yang wrote.