Presentation Title

Mobility and Multitasking in People with Multiple Sclerosis

Presenter's Name(s)

Michael VanNostrandFollow

Abstract

Introduction: Although there is consensus that individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) have difficulties performing two tasks concurrently (i.e., dual tasking), the type of tasks that are perceived to be most difficult by persons with MS is not well understood. The purpose of this study is to explore the experiences of adults with MS associated with dual tasking and to examine the perceptual effects that dual tasking has on mobility in this population.

Methods: To date, three focus groups of adults with MS (n = 8) have been conducted. Participants were asked a combination of structured and open-ended questions designed to understand their experiences with dual tasking and the consequences it has on their balance. Focus groups lasted approximately 60 minutes and were conducted over Zoom.

Results: Although analysis is still ongoing, preliminary results suggest that difficulties in dual task situations have a substantial impact on the lives of individuals with MS. Individuals with MS identified the following challenges that occur while dual tasking: 1) difficulties with continuing conversations and 2) increased difficulty with balance, made worse by fatigue. Furthermore, these challenges were not reflective of what healthcare providers were examining for fall risk in this population.

Conclusion: This study provides evidence that performing two tasks concurrently has an impact on balance in persons with MS. Additionally, appropriate dual task situations are not currently being examined by healthcare providers. Additional research should be conducted to develop measures that are effective in identifying fall risk in persons with MS.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Susan Kasser

Faculty/Staff Collaborators

Katie Emberley (Undergraduate Study Team Member), Kristina Shanahan (Undergraduate Study Team Member), Erin Cairns (Undergraduate Study Team Member), Carley Giroux (Undergraduate Study Team Member), Bel sogoloff (Undergraduate Study Team Member), Lance Bergmans (Undergraduate Study Team Member)

Status

Graduate

Student College

College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Program/Major

Human Functioning and Rehabilitation Science

Primary Research Category

Health Sciences

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Mobility and Multitasking in People with Multiple Sclerosis

Introduction: Although there is consensus that individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) have difficulties performing two tasks concurrently (i.e., dual tasking), the type of tasks that are perceived to be most difficult by persons with MS is not well understood. The purpose of this study is to explore the experiences of adults with MS associated with dual tasking and to examine the perceptual effects that dual tasking has on mobility in this population.

Methods: To date, three focus groups of adults with MS (n = 8) have been conducted. Participants were asked a combination of structured and open-ended questions designed to understand their experiences with dual tasking and the consequences it has on their balance. Focus groups lasted approximately 60 minutes and were conducted over Zoom.

Results: Although analysis is still ongoing, preliminary results suggest that difficulties in dual task situations have a substantial impact on the lives of individuals with MS. Individuals with MS identified the following challenges that occur while dual tasking: 1) difficulties with continuing conversations and 2) increased difficulty with balance, made worse by fatigue. Furthermore, these challenges were not reflective of what healthcare providers were examining for fall risk in this population.

Conclusion: This study provides evidence that performing two tasks concurrently has an impact on balance in persons with MS. Additionally, appropriate dual task situations are not currently being examined by healthcare providers. Additional research should be conducted to develop measures that are effective in identifying fall risk in persons with MS.