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In Multiple sclerosis and related disorders

BACKGROUND : Multiple sclerosis is a progressive disease responsible for gait disabilities and cognitive impairment, which affect functional performance. Robot-assisted gait training is an emerging training method to facilitate body-weight-supported treadmill training in many neurologic diseases. Through this study, we aimed to determine the efficacy of robot-assisted gait training in patients with multiple sclerosis.

METHODS : We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials evaluating the effect of robot-assisted gait training for multiple sclerosis. We searched PubMed, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, and registry for articles published before May 2019. The primary outcome was walking performance (gait parameters, balance, and ambulation capability). The secondary outcomes were changes in perceived fatigue, severity of spasticity, global mobility, physical and mental quality of life, severity of pain, activities of daily living, and treatment acceptance.

RESULTS : We identified 10 studies (9 different trials) that included patients with multiple sclerosis undergoing robot-assisted gait training or conventional walk training. The meta-analysis showed comparable effectiveness between robot-assisted gait training and conventional walking therapy in walking performance, quality of life, pain, or activities of daily living. The robot-assisted gait training was even statistically superior to conventional walking therapy in improving perceived fatigue (pooled SMD: 0.34, 95% CI: 0.02-0.67), spasticity (pooled SMD: 0.70, 95% CI: 0.08-1.33, I² = 53%), and global mobility (borderline) after the intervention.

CONCLUSION : Our results provide the most up-to-date evidence regarding the robot-assisted gait training on multiple sclerosis. In addition to the safety and good tolerance, its efficacy on multiple sclerosis is comparable to that of conventional walking training and is even superior in improving fatigue and spasticity.

Yeh Shu-Wei, Lin Li-Fong, Tam Ka-Wai, Tsai Ching-Piao, Hong Chien-Hsiung, Kuan Yi-Chun


Fatigue, Multiple sclerosis, Quality of life, Robot-assisted gait training, Walking performance