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Medicina dello Sport 2019 June;72(2):267-77

DOI: 10.23736/S0025-7826.19.03532-4


language: English, Italian

Why physical activity improves quality of life in multiple sclerosis patients: correlation between fatigue and functional parameters

Elisa GRAZIOLI 1 , Claudia CERULLI 1, Eliana TRANCHITA 1, Carlo MINGANTI 1, Emanuela CIMINELLI 1, Laura BELLOFIORE 1, Giovanna BORRIELLO 2, Antonella SANTILLI 3, Attilio PARISI 1

1 Department of Movement, Human and Health Sciences, Foro Italico University, Rome, Italy; 2 Department of Neurological Sciences, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy; 3 Department of Pediatric Cardiology, Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital, Rome Italy


BACKGROUND: This cross-sectional study aims to evaluate the level of correlation between two disabling psychological impairments, such as perceived fatigue and depression, and a complete functional battery tests, in order to better understand which factors can influence these symptoms and provide a new treatment strategy involving physical activity.
METHODS: Thirty-six patients were enrolled, after the preliminary screening from a specialized Neurologist, they performed a series of neuro-psychological (Fatigue Severity Scale, Patient Health Questionnaire-9, Multiple Sclerosis Questionnaire of Life) and functional tests (Timed Up-and-Go, 10-Meter Walking Test, Handgrip Test, 6-Minute Walking Test, Berg Balance Scale). The relationship between the variables was determined by means of Pearson’s correlation coefficients.
RESULTS: Strong correlations were found between fatigue and walking endurance (ρ=-0.387, P=0.024), strength (ρ=-0.341, P=0.04) and for the first time with balance (ρ=-0.404, P=0.015) and quality of life (physical score: ρ=-0.731, P=0.000; mental score: ρ=-0.641, P=0.000); however, our data also showed that depression has a strong relation with fatigue and quality of life.
CONCLUSIONS: This study confirms and provides new information about which functional parameters influence fatigue and depression in multiple sclerosis patients. It highlights that a good patients’ management should include a type of physical activity able to restore all muscular districts in order to decrease the sensation of fatigue and depression and, consequently, to improve the quality of life of these patients.

KEY WORDS: Neurodegenerative diseases; Walking; Psychological stress; Exercise

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