ALERT Mobilit y
training using gym equipment while a control
group participates in flexibility training.
For years, scientists have known that training on
a treadmill improves mobility among people who
have spinal cord injuries and other conditions.
Today, researchers have another tool for treadmill
training: the Lokomat.
“The Lokomat is just a mechanized way of
delivering locomotor training,” said Dr. Giesser.
The person fastens his legs into the Lokomat equip-
ment, turns on the switch and, voilà, he moves on
the treadmill. Dr. Giesser is investigating whether
this training is effective at improv-
ing walking speed and, if so, if
it is better than a nonspecific
intervention. In her study, people
with MS were assigned to either
Lokomat training or strength
training three times a week for
12–16 weeks. The results are still
being analyzed, but everyone in
the study tolerated both forms of
“We didn’t see any exacerbations,” said Dr. Giesser, “and
we didn’t see patients getting
Boosting daily activity
Researchers at the University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
have developed an Internet-based
behavioral intervention offering
people with MS a range of skills
and strategies for increasing their
ordinary daily activity. A Web site
provides a framework for setting goals and self-monitoring,
seeking to foster self-efficacy
by providing ways to identify
barriers to activity and a “goal
tracker” to keep tabs on results.
“We’re testing the efficacy of this
approach for improving symptoms, mobility and quality of
life,” said Robert Motl, PhD,