The effect of balance training on postural control in people with multiple sclerosis using the CAREN virtual reality system: A pilot randomized controlled trial

Alon Kalron*, Ilia Fonkatz, Lior Frid, Hani Baransi, Anat Achiron

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a multi-focal progressive disorder of the central nervous system often resulting in diverse clinical manifestations. Imbalance appears in most people with multiple sclerosis (PwMS). A popular balance training tool is virtual reality (VR) with several advantages including increased compliance and user satisfaction. Therefore, the aim of this pilot RCT (Trial registration number, date: ISRCTN14425615, 21/01/2016) was to examine the efficacy of a 6-week VR balance training program using the computer assisted rehabilitation environment (CAREN) system (Motek Medical BV, Amsterdam, Netherlands) on balance measures in PwMS. Results were compared with those of a conventional balance exercise group. Secondary aims included the impact of this program on the fear of falling. Methods: Thirty-two PwMS were equally randomized into the VR intervention group or the control group. Each group received balance training sessions for 6 consecutive weeks, two sessions per week, 30 min sessions. Clinical balance tests and instrumented posturography outcome measures were collected upon initiation of the intervention programs and at termination. Results: Final analysis included 30 patients (19 females, 11 males; mean age, (S.D.) = 45.2 (11.6) years; mean EDSS (S.D.) = 4.1 (1.3), mean disease duration (S.D.) = 11.0 (8.9) years). Both groups showed a main effect of time on the center of pressure (CoP) path length with eyes open (F = 5.278, P = .024), sway rate with eyes open (F = 5.852, P = .035), Functional Reach Test (F = 20.841, P = .001), Four Square Step Test (F = 9.011, P = .031) and the Fear of Falls self-reported questionnaire (F = 17.815, P = .023). In addition, significant differences in favor of the VR program were observed for the group x time interactions of the Functional Reach Test (F = 10.173, P = .009) and fear of falling (F = 6.710, P = .021). Conclusions: We demonstrated that balance training based on the CAREN device is an effective method of balance training for PwMS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124
JournalJournal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2016

Funding

FundersFunder number
National Multiple Sclerosis SocietyPP2208

    Keywords

    • Balance
    • CAREN
    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Postural control
    • Virtual reality

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