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Randomized Controlled Trial to Examine the Impact of Aquatic Exercise Training on Functional Capacity, Balance, and Perceptions of Fatigue in Female Patients With Multiple Sclerosis

      Abstract

      Objective

      To assess the effects of an 8-week aquatic exercise training program on functional capacity, balance, and perceptions of fatigue in women with multiple sclerosis (MS).

      Design

      Randomized controlled design.

      Setting

      Referral center of an MS society.

      Participants

      Women (N=32; mean age ± SD, 36.4±8.2y) with diagnosed relapsing-remitting MS. After undergoing baseline testing by a neurologist, participants were allocated to either an intervention (aquatic training program, n=17) or a control group (n=15).

      Interventions

      The intervention consisted of an 8-week aquatic training program (3 supervised training sessions per week; session duration, 45–60min; 50%–75% estimated maximum heart rate).

      Main Outcome Measures

      Six-minute walk test (6-MWT), balance (Berg Balance Scale [BBS]), and perceptions of fatigue (Modified Fatigue Impact Scale; [MFIS]) at baseline and after the 8-week intervention. Differences over time between the experimental and control groups were assessed by a 2×2 (group by time) repeated-measures analysis of variance.

      Results

      Thirty-two women completed the 8-week aquatic training intervention (experimental group, n=17; control group, n=15). All outcome measures improved in the experimental group: 6-MWT performance (pretest mean ± SD, 451±58m; posttest mean ± SD, 503±57m; P<.001); BBS (pretest mean ± SD, 53.59±1.70; posttest mean ± SD, 55.18±1.18; P<.001), and MFIS (pretest mean ± SD, 43.1±14.6; posttest mean ± SD, 32.8±5.9; P<.01). A significant group-by-time interaction was evident between the experimental and control groups for 6-MWT (P<.001, partial eta2p2]=.551), BBS (P<.001, ηp2=.423), and MFIS (P<.001, ηp2=.679).

      Conclusions

      Aquatic exercise training improved functional capacity, balance, and perceptions of fatigue in women with MS.

      Keywords

      List of abbreviations:

      BBS (Berg Balance Scale), BMI (body mass index), EDSS (Expanded Disability Status Scale), MFIS (Modified Fatigue Impact Scale), MS (multiple sclerosis), 6-MWT (6-minute walk test)
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