Backward walking speed could help screen for mobility and in MS

Researchers from Michigan have found that how well people can adjust their backward walking speed might help identify mobility and cognition problems in individuals living with multiple sclerosis (MS).

The study revealed that those with a reduced ability to change their walking speed on demand reported worse disease severity and performed poorly in clinical tests of mobility and cognitive function.

These findings could lead to the development of sensitive clinical tests to screen MS patients and determine their risk of falls.

Nora Fritz, PhD, an associate professor of physical therapy at Wayne State University in Detroit and the study’s senior author, emphasised the importance of identifying markers of fall risk and cognitive decline that can be easily used in clinical practice. “Detecting and preventing falls before they happen is crucial,” she said in a university press release.

The study, titled “Backwards walking speed reserve in persons with multiple sclerosis,” was published in Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.