Study Title: The progressive effect of relapsing‐remitting multiple sclerosis on gait variability measured using a body‐fixed accelerometer
Study Description: Saskatchewan has one of the highest rates of MS in the world, and as such the goal of this research project is to develop methods to evaluate mobility in persons with MS (PwMS) using readily-available sensor technology. A long-term objective is to use this technology to clinically assess disease progression and provide information that has the potential to be used for the prescription and evaluation of therapeutic interventions.This project will determine whether two select gait variability (GV) measures, stride time variability and the fractal scaling index (FSI) of stride time, can be used to discriminate between the gait of PwMS and healthy controls. It will also determine whether these measures differ according to the level of disability in PwMS.

By studying how gait changes throughout the progression of MS, we hope to develop a better understanding of how and when changes in motor control occur and to be able to quantify the magnitude of these changes to provide new information that can be used to guide physical treatments and improve quality of life. Further, the use of accelerometry to conduct gait analysis in MS also has the potential to create a gait assessment tool that can be used by people with MS, researchers, and clinicians to measure gait variability for monitoring and evaluating MS disease severity and progression.

Participants from the following four subgroups will be tested: 1) PwMS with an EDSS level of 2.0 – 2.5, 2) an EDSS level of 3.0 – 3.5, 3) an EDSS level of 4.0 - 5.0 and 4) a healthy control group. All participants will perform a six-minute walk test at a normal, self-selected pace around a 200-metre indoor track. An iPhone will be placed in a leather case/holster and attached via a clip to the participant’s waist-band/belt.Gait variability will be tracked using the GaitDoctor©, an iOS gait variability app that uses the phone’s built in accelerometer to calculate stride time variability and fractal scaling index. We anticipate that there will be a strong association between gait variability and disease severity.
Recruitment Dates: 2018-03-01 to 2018-08-31
Who can participate: Anyone with relapsing-remitting MS (EDSS level 2-5) and who has been relapse free for 30 days prior to testing
Location of Trial: Saskatchewan
Contact Information: Dr. John Barden
Trial Funding: Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation