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Title:Characterization of physical and cognitive function, physical activity, and sedentary behavior in older adults with multiple sclerosis
Author(s):Bollaert, Rachel Elizabeth
Director of Research:Motl, Robert W
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Motl, Robert W
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Pilutti, Lara A; Fernhall, Bo; Petruzzello, Steve
Department / Program:Kinesiology & Community Health
Discipline:Kinesiology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Multiple Sclerosis
Physical Activity
Exercise
Older Adults
Abstract:Background: Older adults with multiple sclerosis (MS) experience age-related declines in physical and cognitive function that may be compounded by the disease and its progression. However, the extent to which impairments in physical and cognitive function are manifestations of MS and disease progression, reflective of the general aging process, or perhaps two detrimental processes exacerbating the synergistic effects of the other is relatively unknown. Further, there is very little known about managing the progression and consequences of MS in older adults. Physical activity participation might provide a protective or potentially restorative effect on the mechanisms associated with aging and MS that influence physical and cognitive function. Objectives: The present study examined physical and cognitive function in 40 older adults with MS (i.e., 60 years of age and older) compared to 40 age- and sex-matched healthy older adults in the general population and the extent to which objectively measured physical activity and sedentary behavior were associated with these functions. Methods: Participants initially underwent the cognitive assessments, followed by the physical function assessments. The order of tests was standardized and participants were provided seated-rest between the administrations of the physical function assessments. Participants were then instructed to wear an accelerometer and document wear time in a log book for a seven-day period after the testing session. Results: Independent samples t-tests indicated that older adults with MS performed worse on all measures of physical function and one measure of cognitive function (i.e., information processing speed) compared to healthy controls. ANCOVAs indicated that older adults with MS engaged in less moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) (minutes/day) and more sedentary behavior (minutes/day) compared to healthy controls. Partial Pearson correlations demonstrated that levels and patterns of physical activity were significantly associated with a majority of physical function variables but not cognitive function variables in both older adults with MS and healthy controls but to a greater extent in older adults with MS. Partial Pearson correlations further demonstrated that levels and patterns of sedentary behavior were significantly associated with a majority of physical function variables but not cognitive function variables primarily in older adults with MS. Linear regression analyses further demonstrated that the low levels of MVPA (minutes/day) partially accounted for differences in physical and cognitive function variables between older adults with MS and healthy controls. Conclusions: The present results indicate that compared to healthy controls, older adults with MS experience large declines in all areas of physical function, but only one area of cognitive function (i.e., information processing speed), and engage in lower levels of MVPA and higher levels of sedentary behavior. Further, both levels and patterns of physical activity, namely MVPA, and sedentary behavior should be a focus of clinical rehabilitation and behavioral interventions for the promotion of healthy aging in older adults with MS.
Issue Date:2017-04-12
Type:Thesis
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/97331
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Rachel Bollaert
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-08-10
Date Deposited:2017-05


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