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Effect of Exercise on Fatigue in Multiple Sclerosis: A Network Meta-analysis Comparing Different Types of Exercise

Published:September 09, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2021.08.008

      Abstract

      Objective

      A network meta-analysis (NMA) of current evidence was conducted to determine if physical exercise has a positive influence on multiple sclerosis (MS) fatigue and type of exercise with the largest effect on fatigue also according to disease severity.

      Data Sources

      MEDLINE, Embase, SPORTDiscus, Physiotherapy Evidence Database, Cochrane Library, and Web of Science. The search strategy combined relevant terms related to (1) MS; (2) clinical trials; (3) exercise; and (4) fatigue from inception to February 2021.

      Study Selection

      Randomized controlled trials concerning the effectiveness of different types of exercise on total and physical fatigue in people with MS were included.

      Data Extraction

      The data were extracted into predesigned data extraction tables. Risk of bias was evaluated with the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool (RoB 2.0), and the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation tool was used to evaluate the quality of the evidence.

      Data Synthesis

      A total of 58 studies were examined. Data were pooled using a random-effects model. A ranking of 7 and 8 different exercise interventions for physical and total fatigue scores, respectively, was achieved. The highest effects for pairwise comparisons were for combined exercise and resistance training vs control (ranging between −0.74 and −1.24). In the NMA, combined exercise (−1.51; 95% confidence interval [CI], −2.01 to −1.01) and resistance training (−1.15; 95% CI, −1.81 to −0.49) compared with the control group achieved the highest effects for physical and total fatigue, respectively.

      Conclusions

      Exercise should be considered an effective fatigue management strategy. Among the different exercise modalities, combined exercise is the most effective exercise modality for improving both physical and total fatigue. Resistance training is also an effective exercise for total fatigue among people diagnosed with MS.

      Keywords

      List of abbreviations:

      CI (confidence interval), ES (effect size), MS (multiple sclerosis), NMA (network meta-analysis), RCT (randomized controlled trial), SUCRA (surface under the cumulative ranking)
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