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Virtual Reality Helps to Detect Mild Balance Problems in People with MS, Says New Society-Supported Study

March 27, 2020

People with MS are more likely to fall even if they don’t have trouble walking. In a study exploring this problem, researchers at the University of North Carolina and collaborators found that balance problems that were not detected in people with MS while walking were evident using virtual reality-based testing. The team compared balance in 14 people with MS and 14 people without MS using normal walking, and then using the virtual reality headset-based method, which involves giving people the illusion of falling.

The investigators are testing and developing this method further, in the hopes that it may ultimately be used to detect balance and address problems in people living with MS before falls occur. Author Dr. Jason Franz was funded with a pilot research award from the National MS Society.

Read more from the University of North Carolina

Read the paper in the PLOS journal

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, and there is currently no cure for MS. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.


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