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Spotlight on postural control in patients with multiple sclerosis

Authors Prosperini L, Castelli L

Received 15 December 2017

Accepted for publication 17 January 2018

Published 3 April 2018 Volume 2018:8 Pages 25—34

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/DNND.S135755

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Andrew Yee

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Thomas Müller

Luca Prosperini,1 Letizia Castelli2

1Department of Neurosciences, San Camillo-Forlanini Hospital, Rome, Italy; 2Department of Neurology and Psychiatry, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy

Abstract: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that heavily affects postural control, predisposing patients to accidental falls and fall-related injuries, with a relevant burden on their families, health care systems and themselves. Clinical scales aimed to assess balance are easy to administer in daily clinical setting, but suffer from several limitations including their variable execution, subjective judgment in the scoring system, poor performance in identifying patients at higher risk of falls, and statistical concerns mainly related to distribution of their scores. Today we are able to objectively and reliably assess postural control not only with laboratory-grade standard force platform, but also with low-cost systems based on commercial devices that provide acceptable comparability to gold-standard equipment. The sensitivity of measurements derived from force platforms is such that we can detect balance abnormalities even in minimally impaired patients and predict the risk of future accidental falls accurately. By manipulating sensory inputs (dynamic posturography) or by adding a concurrent cognitive task (dual-task paradigm) to the standard postural assessment, we can unmask postural control deficit even in patients at first demyelinating event or in those with a radiologic isolated syndrome. Studies on neuroanatomical correlates support the multifactorial etiology of postural control deficit in MS, with the association with balance impairment being correlated with cerebellum, spinal cord, and highly ordered processing network according to different studies. Postural control deficit can be managed by means of rehabilitation, which is the most important way to improve balance in patients with MS, but there are also suggestions of a beneficial effect of some pharmacologic interventions. On the other hand, it would be useful to pay attention to some drugs that are currently used to manage other symptoms in daily clinical setting because they can further impair postural controls of patients with MS.

Keywords: multiple sclerosis, postural control, balance, accidental falls, force platform, cognitive-motor interference

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