Rehabilitation to improve gaze and postural stability in people with multiple sclerosis: Study protocol for a prospective randomized clinical trial

Brian J. Loyd, Annie Fangman, Daniel S. Peterson, Eduard Gappmaier, Michael C. Schubert, Anne Thackery, Lee Dibble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: The use of vestibular rehabilitation principles in the management of gaze and postural stability impairments in people with multiple sclerosis (PwMS) has shown promise in pilot work completed in our lab and in a recently published randomized clinical trial (RCT). However, further work is needed to fully quantify the gaze and postural impairments present in people with multiple sclerosis and how they respond to rehabilitation. Methods/design: The study is a single blind RCT designed to examine the benefit of a gaze and postural stability (GPS) intervention program compared to a standard of care (SOC) rehabilitation program in dizzy and balance impaired PwMS. Outcomes will be collected across the domains of body structure and function, activity, and participation as classified by the World Health Organization International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF). Our primary outcomes are the Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI) and the Functional Gait Assessment (FGA). Secondary outcomes include other measures of gaze and postural stability, fatigue, and functional mobility. Participants who are interested and eligible for enrollment will be consented prior to completing a baseline assessment. Following the baseline assessment each participant will be randomized to either the GPS or SOC intervention group and will complete a 6 week treatment period. During the treatment period, both groups will participate in guided exercise 3x/week. Following the treatment period participants will be asked to return for a post-treatment evaluation and again for a follow-up assessment 1 month later. We anticipate enrolling 50 participants. Discussion: This study will be an innovative RCT that will utilize gaze and postural stability metrics to assess the efficacy of vestibular rehabilitation in PwMS. It will build on previous work by examining measures across the ICF and improve the current evidence base for treating PwMS. Trial registration:, May 29th 2018, NCT03521557.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119
JournalBMC Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 10 2019


LD led the acquisition of the funding from National MS Society (NMSS) that supports this project. BL and AF prepared the first draft of the protocol paper, with contributions from LD, MS, AT, DP, and EG. BL, AF, LD, MS, AT, DP, and EG contributed to the subsequent drafts of the paper and approved its content.

FundersFunder number
National Multiple Sclerosis Society


    • Gaze stability
    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Postural stability
    • Randomized clinical trial
    • Vestibular rehabilitation


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