Locomotor training is a new exercise modality that emphasizes task specificity to promote
learning and neural plasticity. It has been reported to improve walking in patients with
stroke, spinal cord injury and cerebral palsy. In this study, 40 patients with impaired
ambulation due to Multiple Sclerosis will be randomized to receive 36 sessions of either
locomotor training or an standard resistive exercise intervention.The locomotor training will
be accomplished via a robotic device, the Lokomat, which will move the patient's legs on a
treadmill while they are suspended in a harness.
In this study, subjects with confirmed diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis were randomized into
one of two treatment arms. Subjects in the Lokomat arm trained on the Lokomat with a
supervising physical therapist for 20-30 minutes/session 3 times/week. The Lokomat is a
robotic exoskeleton which enables the subject to step on a moving treadmill. Subjects were
suspended in a harness while in the Lokomat with full to partial body weight support as
needed. After the training in the Lokomat, they practiced overground walking for 10 minutes.
The other treatment arm had subjects engage in resistance training with weights and
resistance elastic bands matched to the Lokomat group for intensity, duration and frequency.
they did not practice overground walking.
Primary outcome measure was speed to accomplish 25' timed walk.
- Persons with Secondary progressive or Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis who are
ambulatory with difficulty and /or assistive device
- Unable to ambulate
- Within 3 months of exacerbation