Purpose: This research investigates the objective and subjective effects of wearing the Rehband cooling garment.
Method: A multi-centre, randomized crossover study was conducted regarding 43 heat-sensitive persons with multiple sclerosis (MS), comparing active treatment with placebo. Subjects were tested immediately before and after intervention. Ten-(10TW) and 30-metre timed walk (30TW), oral temperature, spasticity, standing balance and timed up and go (TUG) and nine-hole peg test (NHPT) performance were measured. A study-specific questionnaire was used to evaluate subjective experiences.
Results: Active treatment produced statistically significant objective improvement in 10TW, 30TW, one-legged stance, tandem stance (right) and TUG; statistically significant subjective improvement was also found in fatigue, spasticity, weakness, balance, gait, transfers, ability to think clearly and time to recover. The coherence between the objective and subjective results indicates clinical relevance from the subjects' perspective. There were no statistically significant differences between treatments in terms of oral temperature, spasticity (measured by the modified Ashworth scale), tandem stance (left), step test or NHPT, or subjective signs such as difficulty in dressing, dysarthria or pain.
Conclusions: Active cooling with a Rehband: vest is likely to have a positive effect on everyday life in heat-sensitive persons with MS.