This study describes the effect of body-weight-supported treadmill training (BWSTT) on quality of life (QoL) for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. Thirteen individuals with MS and gait impairment randomly received two blocks of six biweekly training sessions: (1) robot-assisted BWSTT then BWSTT alone (R-T) or (2) BWSTT alone then robot-assisted BWSTT (T-R). No statistically significant differences were found between robot-assisted BWSTT and unassisted BWSTT for improving QoL outcome measures. The change in Physical Component Summary scores from baseline to the end of the 12 training sessions improved significantly more in the R-T than the T-R group. Within-participant longitudinal changes in QoL for all participants from both groups combined showed significant improvements in 5 of the 13 QoL measures. The results of this pilot study suggest that both types of BWSTT may improve QoL for people with gait dysfunction secondary to MS.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00156676.