Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Various leg news and research

I was having a quick look through some of the HSP channels, and there were several articles on a similar theme which caught my attention.

On the US HSP Site - SPFoundation there was a link to this story which says that leg exercise is critical to maintaining brain and nervous system health. Essentially, the maintenance of the nervous system is a two way process, and getting signals from the muscles back to the brain helps to produce new nerve cells, and the converse is that cutting back on such exercise makes it more difficult for the body to produce new cells. The article refers to weight bearing exercises, and that the difficulties in the production of new nerve cells can affect wider functions than muscle control. The research looked at neuromuscular conditions like motor neuron disease. It appears to be a good argument on the "use it or lose it" front.

Research paper:

On the Australian HSP Site - HSPRF there was an article which indicated that people who use virtual reality to improve their balance did better than people who used real-world task-based balance training. The research was done on people with spinal cord injuries rather than those with neuromuscular conditions, so the research may or may not be relevant to those with HSP. This reminded me of the falls study undertaken by Plymouth University last year, and this ties in well with the "use it or lose it" front too.


I was also looking at the rareomics website for recent papers, and spotted this one on being able to spot differences between gait patterns of HSP, Ataxia and Parkinsons. People with each condition and controls had their gait patterns measured using an optoelectronic motion analysis system. The paper reports that all patients had a reduced range of motion in the ankle joint compared with the controls, and it was possible to differentiate ataxia from HSP and Parkinsons. They were not able to identify factors that differentiated those with HSP.

Full paper:

On the opposite side of the exercise coin is this blog post which tries to answer the question: does physical exercise cause motor neuron disease (MND). The conclusion is that there is a link between physical exercise and MND, However, the additional risk is low (6%) and the authors of the study note that the benefits of physical exercise on things like cardiovascular health far outweight the additional risk of causing MND.


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