ALERT Mobilit y
professor in the Department of Kinesiology and
Community Health. Positive results in the recently
published pilot study (October 2010) set the stage
for researching this approach further. “This may
represent a new paradigm for promoting health in
persons with MS,” Dr. Motl said.
People who have trouble moving often avoid using
the part of the body that’s the most problematic.
They transfer responsibility for daily activities to
another part of the body—or even to another person. In previous work, Victor Mark, MD, associate
professor in the Department of Physical Medicine
and Rehabilitation at the University of Alabama
at Birmingham, showed that Constraint-Induced
Therapy (or CIT) helped people with MS learn to
use the neglected body part.
“In people disabled by stroke, we’ve shown that
this form of therapy actually causes growth in the
areas of the brain involved in the movement,” said
Dr. Mark. In his current study, CIT vs. complemen-
tary medicine, people with MS participate in two
weeks of either CIT or some holistic treatments that
have long been highly desired by people with MS.
They include massage, relaxation techniques, yoga
and aquatic therapy. Those in the CIT group practice
a variety of household tasks for three hours a day
using the less mobile arm. The arm that previously
had been doing most of the activities must have a
mitt on during these sessions—even when the person
is not in the lab for training.
Amy Paturel, MS, MPH, is a freelance health writer in
Thank you, Jimmie Heuga
More than a decade before Dr. Jack Petajan’s ground-breaking MS and exercise study, Olympic skiing
medalist Jimmie Heuga raised his voice about the value of exercise for people living with the disease. In
1984 Heuga founded The Heuga Center for Multiple Sclerosis, now Can Do MS, to share the program of physical activity, goal-setting and psychological motivation that had improved his own physical
condition and outlook on life after he developed MS in 1970.
Thanks to Heuga’s pioneering work, the Can Do program has become a standard in care, helping
countless thousands of people with MS and their partners adopt healthy lifestyles and actively manage
Jimmie Heuga passed away early in 2010, but his legacy is powerful. For more information call
800-367-3101 or visit mscando.org.