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PLoS One. 2011;6(11):e28021. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0028021. Epub 2011 Nov 22.

Mobility, balance and falls in persons with multiple sclerosis.

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Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, United States of America.



There is a lack of information concerning the relation between objective measures of gait and balance and fall history in persons with MS (PwMS). This investigation assessed the relation between demographic, clinical, mobility and balance metrics and falls history in persons with multiple sclerosis (MS).


52 ambulatory persons with MS (PwMS) participated in the investigation. All persons provided demographic information including fall history over the last 12 months. Disease status was assessed with Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS). Walking speed, coordination, endurance and postural control were quantified with a multidimensional mobility battery.


Over 51% of the participants fell in the previous year with 79% of these people being suffering recurrent falls. Overall, fallers were older, had a greater prevalence of assistive devices use, worse disability, decreased walking endurance, and greater postural sway velocity with eyes closed compared to non-fallers. Additionally, fallers had greater impairment in cerebellar, sensory, pyramidal, and bladder/bowel subscales of the EDSS.


The current observations suggest that PwMS who are older, more disabled, utilize an assistive device, have decreased walking coordination and endurance and have diminished balance have fallen in the previous year. This suggests that individuals who meet these criteria need to be carefully monitored for future falls. Future research is needed to determine a prospective model of falls specific to PwMS. Additionally, the utility of interventions aimed at reducing falls and fall risk in PwMS needs to be established.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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