Despite the common complaints of dizziness and demyelination of afferent or efferent pathways to and from the vestibular nuclei which may adversely affect the angular vestibulo-ocular reflex (aVOR) and vestibulo-spinal function in persons with multiple sclerosis (PwMS), few studies have examined gaze and dynamic balance function in PwMS. (1) Determine the differences in gaze stability, dynamic balance and participation measures between PwMS and controls, (2) Examine the relationships between gaze stability, dynamic balance and participation. Nineteen ambulatory PwMS at fall-risk and 14 age-matched controls were recruited. Outcomes included (1) gaze stability (angular aVOR gain [ratio of eye to head velocity]; number of compensatory saccades [CS] per head rotation; CS latency; gaze position error; coefficient of variation [CV] of aVOR gain), (2) dynamic balance (functional gait assessment, FGA; four square step test), and (c) participation (dizziness handicap inventory; activities-specific balance confidence scale). Separate independent t-tests and Pearson's correlations were calculated. PwMS were age = 53 ± 11.7 years and had 4.2 ± 3.3 falls/year. PwMS demonstrated significant (P < 0.05) impairments in gaze stability, dynamic balance and participation measures compared to controls. CV of aVOR gain and CS latency were significantly correlated with FGA. Deficits and correlations across a spectrum of disability measures highlight the relevance of gaze and dynamic balance assessment in PwMS. Anat Rec, 301:1852–1860, 2018.
- multiple sclerosis
- postural balance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics