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J Rehabil Res Dev. 2015;52(6):713-24. doi: 10.1682/JRRD.2015.01.0006.

Core muscle characteristics during walking of patients with multiple sclerosis.

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Department of Health and Exercise Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO;


The purpose of this study was to investigate core muscle characteristics during walking in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Eight patients (4 men) with relapsing-remitting MS (aged 44.9 +/- 8.6 yr) and sex-matched controls (37.9 +/- 8.4 yr) walked on a treadmill for 15 min at a self-selected speed. Positron emission tomography/computed tomography imaging was used to measure core muscle activity immediately after walking based on glucose uptake. Activity was not different between the MS and control group for any of the identified muscles (p > 0.28). Within the MS group, side differences in activity were identified in the lateral flexor group, the external and internal obliques, and the rectus abdominis (p < 0.05), with the less-affected side being activated more. Furthermore, greater muscle volume was found on the more-affected side of the transversus abdominis, quadratus lumborum, and the low-back extensor group (p < 0.03). These muscle characteristics suggest patients with MS utilize compensatory mechanisms during walking to maintain balance and posture. These strategies likely result in increased muscle energy cost and early fatigability.


autoimmune disease; balance; computed tomography; disability; glucose uptake heterogeneity; muscle activation; muscle activity; muscle volume; positron emission tomography; stability; trunk

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