good news about exercise and nerve degen... - My MSAA Community

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good news about exercise and nerve degeneration

Sandydemop profile image
53 Replies

Sharing my feelings: Sometimes I feel very sad about having MS. Like "Why do i need a homemaker or wear depends or have to use a walker and sometimes a wheel chair in my 50's?" But this article has good news. People with cancer, Lupus, HIV, Anxiety aren't told, I imagine, "exercise will put off your disability." This article says "exercise will , not may, RESTORE function. When someone asks for advice for newly diagnosed I say "Exercise every day like your life depends on it." because it does. This study is small but the message is relevant. Please comment. thanks for reading.

Function in MS-Related Thalamic Atrophy

by Megan Brooks

September 23, 2022

Aerobic exercise has the potential to restore function in adults with multiple sclerosis (MS) and thalamic atrophy — a patient population at increased risk for progressive physical and cognitive decline.

In a cross-sectional study, aerobic fitness was strongly correlated with standard assessments of cognition and walking ability in MS patients with thalamic atrophy, but not in peers without thalamic atrophy.

The study provided preliminary evidence of "strong, selective associations between aerobic fitness, cognitive processing speed, and walking endurance in adults with MS-related thalamic atrophy," the investigators wrote.

The results are "exciting as we can potentially optimize aerobic exercise training trials that target specific groups of people with MS to maximize the chances of restoring functions in those patients," first author Brian M. Sandroff, PhD, senior research scientist, Kessler Foundation, West Orange, New Jersey, told Medscape Medical News.

The study was published online June 19 in the Journal of Neurology.

Historically, lesion burden and lesion activity over time have been the most important prognostic markers of MS, Sandroff explained.

However, brain atrophy, including in the thalamus, is a "particularly" important biomarker that is increasingly assessed in clinic and included as an endpoint in MS clinical research, he noted.

The investigators sought to determine whether aerobic fitness was differentially associated with cognitive processing speed and walking endurance in adults with MS with and without thalamic atrophy.

The study enrolled 44 adults with MS, all of whom were able to walk. They completed a graded exercise test to assess peak oxygen uptake (VO2), the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT) to assess cognitive ability and the 6-minute walk test (6MW) to assess walking ability. MRI scans revealed thalamic atrophy in 25 patients.

After controlling for age, Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score and global MRI measures of atrophy, aerobic fitness (VO2) was strongly correlated with cognitive function (SDMT scores, P < .01) and walking ability (6MW performance, P < .01) in patients with thalamic atrophy, but not in those without thalamic atrophy.

"As aerobic fitness more strongly correlated with cognitive processing speed and walking endurance in those who presented with thalamic atrophy, this may support the development of a subsequent aerobic exercise training intervention for improving cognitive processing speed and walking endurance as primary outcomes in persons with MS who present with MS-related thalamic atrophy," said Sandroff.

"As thalamic atrophy is considered a strong biomarker for MS neurodegeneration, such a trial would represent the first test of aerobic exercise training for restoring function, particularly cognitive processing speed and walking endurance, in those who present with objective MS-related central nervous system damage, as there have been no rehabilitation trials in MS that have targeted patients who present with brain atrophy," he added.

Aerobic Exercise 'Strongly' Encouraged

Reached for comment, Eoin Flanagan, MBBCh, neurologist, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, noted that the thalamus is the body’s "relay station" that processes sensory signals from nerves, and loss of brain tissue in this region of the brain in MS is considered a marker of nerve degeneration.

In this study, said Flanagan, "higher levels of fitness seemed to be protective and were associated with better cognition and walking endurance in persons with MS who have thinning in this part of the brain."

"Thus, the main takeaway is that aerobic exercise may be particularly helpful in MS patients with nerve degeneration and should be strongly encouraged," Flanagan told Medscape Medical News.

The study was supported by an investigator-initiated grant from EMD Serono, Inc and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health. Sandroff and Flanagan reported no relevant conflicts of interest.

J Neurol. Published June 19, 2022. Abstract.

53 Replies
erash profile image
erash

If this is true, I should be healed. I exercise (hard--former marathon runner etc. even for the first 15 yrs of MS) 2-3 hours a day and have for most of my adult life. Or...maybe I would have been much worse if I hadn't.

Sandydemop profile image
Sandydemop in reply to erash

Hi Miss E, we will never know the road not taken, to coin a phrase but i would bet that has slowed down your progression!

erash profile image
erash in reply to Sandydemop

that’s what my neuros have said. Exercise is my DMT 😊

Sandydemop profile image
Sandydemop in reply to erash

Amen. How is the artwork going?

erash profile image
erash in reply to Sandydemop

👍👩‍🎨 good

Sandydemop profile image
Sandydemop in reply to erash

so glad. How did you fare with Ian?

erash profile image
erash in reply to Sandydemop

some flooding and leaks. Amazed power stayed on thru the night. 🤷🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️Power Went out 10 am and waiting…but I’m sure they need to prioritize—-some much worse off 😬

It’s chilly here now after the storm? ?? so don’t need AC

Thanks for asking 😊

Sandydemop profile image
Sandydemop in reply to erash

Hi Miss E, of course I was thinking about you! glad it wasn't too severe for you. It's a bit chilly here too. Fall. 50s-60's. Wore my sweatshirt for the first time today. Wishing you well.

Jesmcd2 profile image
Jesmcd2CommunityAmbassador in reply to erash

Have been thinking of you! Stay safe, Ian is a monster!!👺🤗💕🌠

Mb2112 profile image
Mb2112

thanks for sharing

bettlebug profile image
bettlebug

Ty so much! I have had MS for long years as well as Lupus and CKD. This year has been so hot (n Texas as I know it has been many places) that I have not een able to get ANY exercise! You have encouraged me to trry Sandemop and I appreciate it. My husband died very unexpectely and quickly and I think I had almost given uup (we were married 49yrs). God bless.

Sandydemop profile image
Sandydemop in reply to bettlebug

hi Bettlebug, sorry to hear how difficult things have been for you but please do not give up hope. even the smallest things count. for me the "sit to stand" is exercise. Eating or doing things with my former and now non dominant hand counts. start small.

jimeka profile image
jimeka

Good read Sandy, thank you 🤗

Sandydemop profile image
Sandydemop in reply to jimeka

You're welcome. It makes me feel more motivated. How are you doing?

jimeka profile image
jimeka in reply to Sandydemop

My major accomplishment now adays is dog sitting 😂

Sandydemop profile image
Sandydemop in reply to jimeka

I'm sure your family appreciates the love and attention you give the pup. Any art projects recently?

jimeka profile image
jimeka in reply to Sandydemop

NO, I have had a chilled out summer, I am trying to do a latch hook John Deere tractor for Jackson, but it hurts my neck so it’s a slow process. I used to do a latch hook cushion every month , I said no more but then Jackson came along and I had made one for the other grandsons so I thought I would give it a go but now I know why I gave it up. Have you any projects on the go? 🤗

Sandydemop profile image
Sandydemop in reply to jimeka

I used to latch hook. I had one of burt and ernie for my little brother who is now 51. Used to do cross stitch and a little needle point but i stopped years ago. Not sure if it was because my eyes are over 40 (not saying what the rest of me is dealing with) or concentration or dexterity but i'm not doing it anymore. Maybe it would help with dexterity? does it help you?

jimeka profile image
jimeka in reply to Sandydemop

I get frustrated because my mind works faster than my hand. I can do most things left handed but I can’t latch hookleft handed so it’s a slow process. I won’t do anymore after this. God willing I will get it finished. Are you doing any crafts? How’s your art doing? 🤗

Sandydemop profile image
Sandydemop in reply to jimeka

thanks for asking. I think a craft would probably help my hands but not currently. Maybe I'll learn how to knit this winter. I haven't done any art since that MS/art project i don't know when ? I have plenty of supplies. I don't know that I can still draw but i'll give it a try this weekend and get back to you. Otherwise i'm doing ok. and better and grateful now that the humidity is over.

jimeka profile image
jimeka in reply to Sandydemop

Happy painting 🖼

agate profile image
agate

Thank you for sharing this. I think that exercise of just about any kind is probably helpful. After all, if our muscles aren't doing as much as they're meant to be doing because they aren't getting the messages from the nerves, it figures that they would lose strength unless we make a conscious effort to keep them toned up.I'm afraid that "Use it or lose it" is true.

Sandydemop profile image
Sandydemop in reply to agate

absolutely!

Jer29-11 profile image
Jer29-11

Love this! Thanks for sharing ❤️

Sandydemop profile image
Sandydemop in reply to Jer29-11

Hi Jer, glad it was helpful.

JSSimp profile image
JSSimp

Love it. Thanks for sharing🙏🏾

Sandydemop profile image
Sandydemop in reply to JSSimp

Hey JS, you're welcome!

goatgal profile image
goatgal

As erash writes, maybe I too would have been much worse if I hadn't been active. Even as a child and young person, I was always a klutz, tripping, falling down, uncoordinated. Unlike her, I wasn't a runner or any kind of athlete but outdoor physical activity has always been important to me. But like you, Sandydemop, every morning when I massage a persistent spastic portion on my inner thigh, flex my stiff feet and pull on compression socks, I'm a little sad. But then, the sun comes up, my coffee is brewed...and if it isn't raining or snowing, I'm out the door to do something in the garden (which provides an endless number of tasks large and small).

Sandydemop profile image
Sandydemop in reply to goatgal

❣️ Gardening. I appreciate your identification and feedback.

goatgal profile image
goatgal

Gardening is why I don't have a gym membership. I'm in now, but I had 3 hours of gardening outside this morning in a stiff breeze. I cut up a fallen branch with the hand saw, replanted lettuce, watered everything else. Then, because it is a 1/4 mile to my fence along the road and back. I probably walked a mile or more this morning, moving back and forth, dragging a container down the hill and back taking the weeds to a compost heap. In addition to the walking I raked, pulled, picked up sticks and weed, lifted the can to empty it...probably using all my big muscles and some of the small. Did I do it quickly, smoothly, with style? Did I finish doing what needs tending to? No, but I got up, and out and moved. Now, my feet hurt, so I'm in and changed shoes to put pressure on different nerves.

Hollithia profile image
Hollithia in reply to goatgal

I have so much trouble with my feet. Nuerapathy really slows me down. How much pain can I endure when wearing shoes? And which shoes can I endure wearing? It’s always been a factor since ms entered my life. Thanks for posting this. Hollithia 🌻🌻

Sandydemop profile image
Sandydemop in reply to Hollithia

hi Hollithia one day soon i want to hear everyone's experience about feet!

Sandydemop profile image
Sandydemop

thanks for sharing.

MarkUpnorth profile image
MarkUpnorth

I'll never be the person I was. I used to swim on a swim team, swam 5 mile lake swims, biked everywhere, did that traditional things too, though I never really considered myself even competent as a cross country guy. But I've gone from M.S. dragging me down into an almost coma like existence, having to try to move again from making it from the bed or couch to the bathroom, to pushing myself a half block using my cane, to doing power walking with my propelled lawn mower, and general walks to the tune of 10K steps/day as my goal. But bike riding, I'm limited to a recumbent due to balance, though I'm still limited to the single digit mileage, as opposed to the 25 miles there and 25 miles back in half an afternoon younger. And run? I don't have a death wish. I'd be lucky if I simply fell, as opposed to run into a tree. So aerobic? Is getting me heart pumping because of a super sale on my favorite veggies aerobic? Didn't think so. But, slow and steady still works? Look how long turtles live?

Yes, you have to exercise. Remember, from my physics classes? A body in motion tends to stay in motion, while a body at rest, tends to wilt and die? I think that's how it goes.

Sandydemop profile image
Sandydemop in reply to MarkUpnorth

Hey Mark, thanks for your response. Physics. who knew it would ever come in handy after high school? and yes, turtles outlive rabbits. thanks ❣️

anaishunter profile image
anaishunter

I agree in general but for many of us with ms, the fatigue is like a prison ball on our ankle and gearing up for aerobic exercise is mission impossible.

agapepilgrim profile image
agapepilgrim in reply to anaishunter

I agree. Even standing at the sink and washing dishes throws me into muscle spasms in my back around shoulder blades. Even walking around our 1 acre starts muscle spasms in my calves of legs. But, I enjoyed moving when I could! Not anymore. I used to crochet all the time, for gifts, shawls, sweaters, etc. Now, if I even type over 5 minutes my right arm has muscle spasms. So, do what you can when you can, but listen to your body. I finally got the consent of my mind to do that and now I don’t get fatigued induced pneumonia or asthma as often.

Sandydemop profile image
Sandydemop in reply to agapepilgrim

hi, thanks for your post. i'm struggling with typing right now. A shower knocked the juice out of me.

Amore55 profile image
Amore55

Sandy, good post. My neurologist in Salt Lake City seems to think that my rigorous exercise is the only possible explanation for my “recovery “ process of my wicked MS. I have been absolutely ridiculous about anything at all which I can imagine to try to do. It has been a life changer for me. You know that before I basically sat on my couch or stayed in bed as much as possible. My pain was utterly unbearable. Lots of pills and no function. I even needed help to use the bathroom. No longer am I that person. I will not repeat all that I do, as I have sensed resentment from some people on the forum. All I know is that for me it has been amazing. Thanks for sharing this! Much love to you!

Sandydemop profile image
Sandydemop in reply to Amore55

thanks Kelly. so happy for you! and you doing well does not take anything away from me or others who are declining in one way or another.

IFwczs profile image
IFwczs

Thanks for posting this, Sandy.

I hope more people take advantage of my recent exercise posts. Now with Zoom and YouTube, we don't have any excuse not to exercise.1

Sandydemop profile image
Sandydemop in reply to IFwczs

thanks for that. I will do the research.

BlanketTime1 profile image
BlanketTime1

thx for sharing this. it makes sense.

Sandydemop profile image
Sandydemop in reply to BlanketTime1

good to hear it was helpful.

leking1 profile image
leking1

Thanks for sharing this article. I find it very encouraging!

Sandydemop profile image
Sandydemop in reply to leking1

YAY! Stay encouraged and please share your enthusiasm

leking1 profile image
leking1

👏👍

falalalala profile image
falalalala

Nice to read something like this for a change :)

Sandydemop profile image
Sandydemop in reply to falalalala

hi falalalala you're welcome. i get emails from medscape, a medical newsletter.

falalalala profile image
falalalala in reply to Sandydemop

Thank you for the info.

Hollithia profile image
Hollithia

Thank you for adding this info to this forum. It’s very interesting. 🌻🌻

Irishgirl76 profile image
Irishgirl76

finding therapy,like aquatic on long term would be great! In long term,Florida and it’s hard. Thanks

Sandydemop profile image
Sandydemop in reply to Irishgirl76

hi Irish, so sorry you're struggling from the hurricane. I hope you can get what you need to replace and rebuild. Is there something we can do to help you?

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