In a recent study that investigated the effects and mechanisms of differently cued and non-cued motor imagery (MI) on walking, fatigue, and quality of life (QOL) in people with multiple sclerosis (PwMS), all interventions significantly improved walking. Furthermore, music- and verbally-cued MI (MVMI) was superior in improving walking, fatigue, and QOL. These results suggest that MI and sensorimotor synchronization (SMS) are mechanisms of action. A total of 60 PwMS with mild to moderate disability were randomized to MVMI, music-cued MI (MMI), or MI. Participants practiced cued or non-cued MI of walking for 17 minutes, 6 times per week for 4 weeks at home. Primary outcomes were walking speed (timed 25-foot walk) and walking distance (6-minute walk test). Researchers found:
- 59 participants completed the study.
- All interventions induced significant improvements in walking speed and distance, while MVMI was superior.
- After cued MI, fatigue, and QOL significantly improved, with greatest changes seen after MVMI.
- All participants showed high MI ability.
- Post-intervention, SMS was significantly more accurate after cued MI.
Seebacher B, Kuisma R, Glynn A, Berger T. Effects and mechanisms of differently cued and non-cued motor imagery in people with multiple sclerosis: A randomised controlled trial. [Published online ahead of print August 14, 2018]. Mult Scler. doi:10.1177%2F1352458518795332.
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