Fitness Update: (Contributed by Rajat Bhatnagar, International Sports & Fitness Distribution, LLC, http://www.isfdistribution.com)
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the brain and spinal cord. Research shows that individuals who suffer from MS also have an increased rate of atherosclerosis, which is associated with disease progression as well as cardiovascular disease.
The study, conducted at the University of Illinois’s Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, compared atherosclerosis, arterial function and risk of cardiovascular disease in people with and without MS. Participants consisted of 33 MS patients and 33 healthy individuals; all participants were matched for age, sex and BMI. The study used several tests of arterial function as well as accelerometer data, and found that MS patients engaged in significantly less activity than their healthy counterparts. Data analyses were able to make a direct link between the two, leading researchers to conclude that the decreased arterial function and increased atherosclerosis were directly caused by decreased levels of physical activity. The study recommends that medical experts find new ways to incorporate mild forms of physical activity in MS treatment, as this would decrease rates of cardiovascular disease and slow disease progression.