Gait, balance, and cognitive disorders are common in people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). In addition, people with MS have impaired ability to concurrently perform gait/balance and cognitive tasks due to cognitive-motor interference (CMI). Clinical features of MS may affect CMI; however, the relationship between CMI and clinical features of MS remains unclear.
Are clinical features of MS associated with CMI?
A systematic review was conducted, and four databases (CINAHL, MEDLINE, ProQuest, and Web of Science Core Collections) were searched up to March 2019 using a combination of keywords related to MS and dual-tasking/CMI. Cross-sectional or longitudinal studies that reported the association between CMI and clinical features of MS were included in the review. The correlation coefficient for the relationship between CMI and clinical features of MS were extracted and the results were categorized according to the clinical feature measured.
13 studies were included in this review, of which nine investigated the association between CMI and disability and cognition, and four investigated the association between CMI and other clinical features of MS. While some studies reported that disability and cognition were negatively associated with CMI, the evidence was inconsistent regarding the magnitude and presence of these relationships. In addition, the relationship between CMI and other clinical features of MS (balance, falls risk, fatigue, anxiety, depression, pain, spasticity) remains unclear.
This review presents evidence from a small number of studies that suggests disability and cognition are negatively associated with CMI in people with MS, indicating that greater disability and cognitive dysfunction may be associated with lower dual-task performance. These findings highlight the potential importance of disability and cognition in the measurement and rehabilitation of people with dual-task impairments. However, further research is required to confirm these findings and determine the relationship between CMI and other clinical features of MS included in this review.
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