Quantitative sensory and motor measures detect change over time and correlate with walking speed in individuals with multiple sclerosis

Impairments of sensation, strength, and walking occur frequently with multiple sclerosis(MS). The relationship among these abnormalities and how they change over time is still not well understood. The objective of this study was to determine the extent that quantitative lower extremity sensory and motor measures detect abnormalities over time, relate to global disability, and to walking speed in individuals with MS. The cohort’s mean age is 44.3±10.8 years (mean±SD), EDSS score range 0-7.5, 66% were females, and follow-up time was 2.1±1.2 years. Strength significantly changed over time; the RRMS group exhibited the largest changes in ADF (3.3 lbs/yr) while the PPMS group displayed significant HF changes (-2.1 lbs/yr). Walking speed was affected most by HF, especially in the weakest individuals (HF<20lbs); T25FW rose by 0.20 seconds(s) for each 1lb loss (p=0.001). Likewise T25FW changed by 0.19s for each 1lb change in ADF (p<0.01).

The study found that quantitative measures detected changes in sensation and strength over time, regardless of a stable respective functional systems scores of the EDSS. Quantitative measurement tools could improve the sensitivity of disability measures in MS and additional investigation of these tools as outcomes in future clinical trials of rehabilitative and neuroreparative interventions is justifiable.