Stroboscopic visual training (SVT) is a form of training aimed at improving visual and perceptual performance by having individuals perform activities under conditions of intermittent vision. The efficacy of SVT has never been examined in people with multiple sclerosis (PwMS), therefore, our aim was to examine the immediate effect of SVT on cognitive function, gait and static balance performance in PwMS. This assessor-blinded, randomized crossover study included 26 PwMS, 16 females, mean age 47.9 and median EDSS score 4.5. Participants attended two sessions: SVT and control training. Exercises for both the SVT and control sessions were based on ball-catching tasks. Training sessions were identical in length (40-50 min) and type of exercise drills. The difference between the two practice regimes was that the SVT session was performed wearing stroboscopic glasses and the control training was performed with similar glasses without lenses. Cognition was evaluated by a computerized software (Mindstreams®, NeuroTrax Corp., NY). Gait and balance were evaluated via wearable accelerometers (APDM, Oregon, USA). Outcome measures were collected twice during a single session, prior to training and immediately afterward. Information processing speed (p = 0.003) increased at the post-evaluation compared with baseline, solely in the SVT session. No differences between pre-post evaluations were observed for other cognitive scores following the SVT session. No differences between pre-post measurements were noted for gait and balance following the SVT session. The present study's results justify performing future RCT studies to examine the effects of a longer SVT program on cognition in PwMS.
Keywords: Balance; Cognition; Gait; Multiple sclerosis; Stroboscopic training.