Multiple sclerosis (MS) has a negative impact on health-related quality of life and leads to a general decline in work, participation and work productivity.
Treatment strategies in MS include pharmacological and non-pharmacological measures, the latter of which has become increasingly important. What a person does in their daily life, what stimuli they engage in, the psychosocial environment in which they live, the quality of their free time, all affect their health and well-being and disease control. Here, related and interrelated concepts like hypotheses, derived from science, come into reality. Use it or lose it, Cognitive reserve and neuroplasticity. Hypothetical Use it or lose it (“Use it or lose it”), traditionally used in the field of aging, and active participation in intellectual, social, and motor activities has a protective effect on the reduction of various systems and abilities. Cognitive reserve perception is related to the brain’s ability to respond and adapt to injuries, reducing the manifestation of clinical symptoms associated with neurodegenerative processes. In turn, neuroplasticity is a biological mechanism related to the brain’s ability to make functional and structural changes in response to external (e.g., physical or cognitive training) or internal (e.g., brain injury) events. A brain that does not freeze and faces challenges (Use or lose), Adjusts its structure and function (neuroplasticity) and enables it to pool resources for coping with crises (cognitive reserve).
The importance of these concepts in the approach of MS has increased significantly in recent years and scientific research has given a good push in this direction. There is evidence that cognitive reserve levels mediate the relationship between the biological markers of MS (e.g., brain injury and brain atrophy) and the level of influence of cognitive domains such as verbal flow and cognitive flexibility. In other words, in people with more cognitive impairment, a decrease in some areas of cognitive function is felt only in the more advanced stages of the disease (characterized by greater neurological damage). Now, more cognitive, but functional and emotional reserve, and more flexibility and ability to cope with the disease, depends largely on what each person chooses in their daily life. Social life, features of professional life, new learning, regular exercise, meditation practice, are just a few examples of the variable factors that lead to more or less success in the individual approach to the disease. In this sense, as well as what happens in other clinical groups, it is promising that the design of intervention programs with multiple features enhances the development of various dimensions of the individual’s global functioning. These programs may include physical activities focused on functional physical fitness (e.g. aerobics, strength and balance activities), but also cognitive training (e.g. double-work) and mind-body activities (e.g., rest and breathing) that The body helps to develop awareness and emotion. Self-regulation.
Finally, and in summary, the way people live with MS has a profound effect on disease control and quality of life. What happens to each person determines not only the course of their life, but also how each person handles what happens to them; In the case of MS, like other neurodegenerative diseases, it is necessary to adopt an active lifestyle from a physical, cognitive and social point of view.
Article by Jose Marmelera, Department of Sports and Health, School of Health and Human Development, University of Evora. “EM Movimento” collaborates with SPEM on a project aimed at promoting physical activity in people with multiple sclerosis.