Pedal Power for People with Multiple Sclerosis

By Petrina Smith
Tuesday, 10 March, 2015

University of Sydney researchers have designed an exercise bike which allows people with multiple sclerosis to improve their symptoms and slow the disease progression.
The exercise bike, designed by a team lead by biomedical engineering expert Dr Ché Fornusek, uses electrical stimulation to activate contractions in the major leg muscles, which forces the pedals to rotate.
Dr Ché Fornusek said people with multiple sclerosis benefit from regular exercise, but the progression of the disease meant many people gradually lose their ability to walk and stay active.
"Inactivity isn't good for any of us, but for people with MS it exacerbates health problems and can put them at greater risk of conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease," Dr Fornusek said.
The research team is now undertaking testing to assess the benefits that can be gained for those with advanced multiple sclerosis, with early trials proving promising.
"I'm confident we can improve the condition of people's legs and make tasks like transitioning to and from a wheelchair easier which is great. But I'm also keen to know if this exercise can improve the immune function and ultimately slow the progression of MS," Dr Fornusek said.

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