Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gentle Touch May Aid Multiple Sclerosis Patients

Date:
October 17, 2009
Source:
University of Illinois at Chicago
Summary:
Physical therapists studying persons with multiple sclerosis found that excessive force often used for gripping can be eased by gently touching the hand or arm in use, raising the possibility of new therapy approaches.

While gripping, lifting or manipulating an object such as drinking from a cup or placing a book on a shelf is usually easy for most, it can be challenging for those with neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's, or for people who had a stroke. For them, the tight gripping can cause fatigue, making everyday tasks difficult.

Related Articles


A team of University of Illinois at Chicago physical therapists report this month in the journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair that persons with multiple sclerosis use excessive force when they are lifting objects. In an earlier finding reported in the journal Clinical Neurophysiology, they reported that regaining control and coordination may be as easy as applying a gentle touch to the affected hand from a finger of the opposite hand.

"We studied how this light touch application changes the way people apply force to an object they want to grip," said Alexander Aruin, professor of physical therapy. The study compared eight adults with multiple sclerosis to eight without the disease, gender-matched and of comparable age. "In each case, the grip force required to lift an object decreased," said Aruin.

He found similar results in an earlier study he did of people with arm weakness caused by a stroke.

Why the simple light finger touch application works so well is not fully understood, but Aruin offers a hypothesis.

"It could be due to auxiliary sensory information from the contra-lateral arm," he said. "When we use our second hand and touch the wrist of the target hand, available information to the central nervous system about the hand-object interaction may increase. Without the touch, the information needed to manipulate an object comes only through vision and sensory input from just the target arm and hand."

Aruin and his colleagues tested subjects griping and lifting a variety of objects that they moved in several different ways, directions and velocities. The gentle finger touch always helped to reduce grip force, making the task easier.

The UIC researcher said he and his colleagues plan to test the approach on those with other neurological and muscular diseases to examine the effects.

"We look forward to developing training and rehabilitation procedures on how to use this," said Aruin. "We know that MS patients are prone to fatigue and muscle weakness. This finding may enable them to perform daily activities more independently to improve their quality of life."

The papers' lead author was Veena Iyengar, a former master's student of Aruin's now at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. Other authors were Marcio Santos, a former UIC postdoctoral fellow now at Santa Catarina State University in Brazil, and Michael Ko, a neurologist with Loyola University Chicago's medical center.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Chicago. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Chicago. "Gentle Touch May Aid Multiple Sclerosis Patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091014144727.htm>.
University of Illinois at Chicago. (2009, October 17). Gentle Touch May Aid Multiple Sclerosis Patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091014144727.htm
University of Illinois at Chicago. "Gentle Touch May Aid Multiple Sclerosis Patients." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091014144727.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins