Postural control is associated with cognition and fear of falling in patients with multiple sclerosis

J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2017 Apr;124(4):495-500. doi: 10.1007/s00702-016-1668-5. Epub 2016 Dec 22.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory and neurodegenerative disease affecting various neurological domains, such as postural control, cognition, fear of falling, depression-anxiety, and fatigue. This study examined the associations of cognitive functions, fear of falling, depression-anxiety, and fatigue with postural control in patients with MS. Postural control (sway velocity) of 63 patients with MS (age 39.0 ± 8.9 years; %female 57%; Expanded Disability Status Scale score median (interquartile range) 2.0 (1.5)) was recorded on two platforms at stable and unstable conditions. Cognition, fear of falling, depression-anxiety, and fatigue were evaluated by a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment. The associations between these domains and postural control have been measured by multivariable linear regression (adjusted for age, gender, disability, and education). In stable condition, only working memory was associated with postural control (p < 0.05). In unstable condition, working memory, executive functions, attention/processing speed, and fear of falling were associated with postural control (p < 0.05). Specific cognitive domains and fear of falling were associated with postural control in MS patients, particularly in unstable condition. These findings highlight the association of cognitive functions and fear of falling with postural control in MS.

Keywords: Cognition; Fear of falling; Multiple sclerosis; Postural control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls*
  • Adult
  • Anxiety
  • Cognition*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression
  • Fatigue / complications
  • Fatigue / physiopathology
  • Fatigue / psychology
  • Fear*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / complications
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / drug therapy
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / physiopathology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / psychology*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Postural Balance*
  • Young Adult