Tracking gait and balance changes in people with MS

Professor Mary Galea

The University of Melbourne, VIC

| Better treatments | Social And Applied Research | Project | 2019 | Investigator Led Research |
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Summary

Medications currently available for MS aim to keep people free from relapses and slow progression of their disease. However, current tests used in clinics for walking and balance are not sensitive enough to pick up some of the more subtle signs of disease activity. Using laboratory-based measuring systems, Professor Mary Galea and her team have shown that they can detect subtle changes in walking and balance in people with MS, even when there isn’t any obvious sign of disease progression.

Better ways are urgently needed to monitor disease progression so that we can test the effectiveness of medications for progressive MS and develop ways to measure these small changes in the clinical setting to adjust the management and treatment of MS for individuals.

This project will use sensors attached to the torso and legs to measure changes in walking and balance in people with MS over time. These devices can also be used to develop a new measure of walking stability called the Local Divergence Exponent, which the team believe might be possible to match up with changes to the brain and spinal cord shown on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.

More sensitive outcome measures such as this will mean that clinicians can determine the comparative effectiveness of existing treatments, and adapt them to improve outcomes for people with MS.

Updated: 23 January 2019

Updated: 05 January, 2019

Stages of the research process

Fundamental laboratory
Research

Laboratory research that investigates scientific theories behind the possible causes, disease progression, ways to diagnose and better treat MS.

Lab to clinic timeline: 10+ years
Translational
Research

Research that builds on fundamental scientific research to develop new therapies, medical procedures or diagnostics and advances it closer to the clinic.

Lab to clinic timeline: 5+ years
Clinical Studies
and Clinical Trials

Clinical research is the culmination of fundamental and translational research turning those research discoveries into treatments and interventions for people with MS.

Lab to clinic timeline: 1-5 years

Investigator

Grant Awarded

  • Project Grant

Total Funding

  • $206,743

Duration

  • 3 years - starting 2019

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