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Cardiovascular Effects of Functional Electric Stimulation Cycling In People with Multiple Sclerosis (Ref: PHDNS02)


Project Description

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an immune mediated disease which results in progressive damage to the central nervous system, and most notably causes demyelination which impairs nerve conduction. In addition, the progressive nature of the condition means that the degree of mobility impairment experienced by the individual will increase as the condition progresses, and is often associated with fatigue, reduced co-ordination and reduced ability to engage in activities of daily living.

Exercise has been shown to improve the quality of life and reduce the fatigue in people with MS (PwMS), and has become a widely used therapy in the management of symptoms of people with MS. In addition, improvements in treatment mean that PwMS will now expected to survive longer and manage their condition for longer than has previously been the case, and as a result the incidence of cardiovascular disease in people with MS is increasing.

These factors mean that much of the research regarding exercise and MS has focused on disease progression and symptom management, with relatively little study of the wider benefits of exercise in this group in terms of improvements in cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory function. In particular, the effects of specialised cycle ergometers on physiological measures is not well understood, nor is the interaction between changes in physiological measures and improvements in quality of life or symptom management. This project will investigate the effect of this type of exercise intervention on the vascular health of people with MS. The study will use a variety of methods including, ultrasound and tonometric assessment of vascular function, breath-by-breath analysis of cardiorespiratory function, assessment of peripheral metabolic function using near infrared optometry.

Funding Notes

The University of the West of Scotland (UWS) is seeking to attract PhD candidates of outstanding ability and commitment to join its vibrant and growing programme of internationally excellent research. Successful applicants will receive an annual stipend (currently £14,777) per annum for three years and payment of tuition fees (current value £4256).

References

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an immune mediated disease which results in progressive damage to the central nervous system. Exercise has been shown to improve the quality of life and reduce the fatigue in people with MS (PwMS). Improvements in treatment mean that PwMS live longer and must manage their condition for longer than has previously been the case. This, allied to other risk factors that are associated with MS, mean that the incidence of cardiovascular disease is increasing in PwMS.

Despite this, there is relatively little information regarding the effect of many exercise based treatments for MS on cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory function. In particular, despite being widely used, the effects of specialised cycle ergometers on physiological measures is not well understood, nor is the interaction between changes in physiological measures and improvements in quality of life or symptom management.

The University of the West of Scotland is looking to appoint 1 fully funded PhD position which will investigate the cardiovascular, cardiorespiratory, and cardiometabolic effects of such exercise training in PwMS. The successful candidate will be based in our award winning Lanarkshire campus, will display a high degree of enthusiasm for the area, and have a proactive approach to their research. At a minumum applicants should have a 2:1 degree in Exercise Physiology, Sport and Exercise Science, Physiotherapy, Neurology, or other Allied Health Profession. Experience of assessing aspects of cardiovascular or cardiorespiratory function is an advantage, as is experience of working with people with mobility impairments.

For more information or to discuss the project informally, please contact Professor Nick Sculthorpe ([email protected]).

Studentships are open to Home/EU candidates with a first degree in a relevant discipline. Non- EU students can apply, but will not receive the stipend and will be required to pay fees. Please quote the Project Reference PHDNS02 with your research proposal.

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