Effect of Weight Training on SDMT Scores in Patients With MS

Presenting at CMSC 2022, researchers investigated the effects of weight training on bone density, quality of life, and cognition in patients with MS.

There is a slight learning effect based on the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT) scores of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) who complete a body weight training regimen, according to preliminary data presented at the 2022 Annual Meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) held from June 1-4, in National Harbor, Maryland.

Risk for decreased bone mass is exacerbated by corticosteroids, often prescribed to control relapses in patients with MS. Weight training is common in rehabilitation among this patient population and may also help control osteopenia. Researchers sought to investigate the effects of weight training in patients with MS on bone density, quality of life, and cognition.

To accomplish this, they studied 25 patients (45-55 years of age; Expanded Disability Status Scale score less than 5.5; capable of body-weight training unassisted) with diagnosis of MS. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) was performed on day 1 and week 14 (±2 weeks). The 6-week program consisted of participants completing their workout twice per week at home, unassisted, and once per week via Zoom in a class led by a physical therapist. For those requiring makeup visits, 2 weeks were added to the program.

At day 1, week 8, and week 12 (±2 weeks), the Multiple Sclerosis Impact Scale (MSIS) and SMDT were administered. There was a slight learning effect registered as per the SDMT scores. Results of the DEXA and MSIS tests are not yet analyzed, and according to researchers they faced pandemic, social, and emotional obstacles obtaining the data.

Researchers concluded that, “Preliminary results show a slight learning effect based on the SDMT scores. The DEXA scan T-scores and MSIS scores will be statistically analyzed and presented at the study’s conclusion.”


Jones D, Iuso AM, Sarni J, Blitz K, Foley FW, Picone MA. Effects of a weight-based training program on bone density, cognition, and quality of life. Presented at: CMSC 2022 Annual Meeting; June 1-4, 2022; National Harbor, Maryland. Abstract QOL11.

This article originally appeared on Neurology Advisor