UL  physiotherapist, Dr Susan Coote has been awarded €270,000 by Ireland’s Health Research Board to investigate the benefits of physical activity for people with Multiple Sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic progressive condition of the central nervous system. It is characterised by symptoms such as weakness, sensory and vision problems, and fatigue which can ultimately lead to problems with balance and mobility. Fifty percent of people with MS will need a walking aid within 15 years of diagnosis. 

Dr Coote explains the significance of this research added; “We know that physical activity can have major benefits for MS patients, the key is trying to embed this activity as a core part of their daily life. This project is unique in that it combines a programme of physical activity coupled with behavior change interventions to enable patients to remain physically active into the future.”  

Dr Coote added; “Over 10,000 people in Ireland are living with MS. The majority of these patients are treated in the primary care settings. For physiotherapists working in primary care, exercise and physical activity interventions form the cornerstone of our treatments. This research will be particular useful in guiding physiotherapists in the best way to deliver exercise interventions in the primary care setting.”

This project is one of four University of Limerick research programmes which were awarded a total of €1.2 million from the Health Research Board.  A multidisciplinary approach to this problem, bringing together psychology, sports science and physical therapy expertise from the University of Limerick together with collaborators at MS Ireland and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.