WASHINGTON: Exercise is good for the brains of patients with multiple sclerosis, a new study has found. In the new study, researchers found that highly fit multiple sclerosis patients performed significantly better on tests of cognitive function than similar less-fit patients.
In addition, MRI scans of the patients showed that the fitter MS patients showed less damage in parts of the brain that show deterioration as a result of MS, as well as a greater volume of vital gray matter.
"We found that aerobic fitness has a protective effect on parts of the brain that are most affected by multiple sclerosis," said Ruchika Shaurya Prakash, lead author of the study and assistant professor of psychology at Ohio State University. "As a result, these fitter patients actually show better performance on tasks that measure processing speed."
The study, done with colleagues Robert Motl and Arthur Kramer of the University of Illinois and Erin Snook of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, appears online in the journal Brain Research and will be published in a future print edition.
The study involved 21 women diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS.They were compared with 15 age- and education-matched healthy female controls. The study assessed fitness, cognitive function, and structural changes in all participants.