This study aims to compare the effectiveness of an exercise program delivered in a conventional facility-based format versus a telerehabilitation format, which takes place in the home. Exercise can improve mobility and perhaps decrease the rate and extent of disability in people with MS. Evidence shows that traditional, facility-based exercise training may help people with MS consistently participate in exercise or to exercise at a higher, more intense level. Despite this evidence, lack of access to facility-based exercise programs may make it difficult for people with MS to engage in exercise.Telerehabilitation (telerehab) has great potential to overcome challenges associated with facility-based programs. Telerehab can include videoconferencing, remote monitoring of signs and activity, and dissemination of specialized and individualized information via electronic mechanisms, such as smartphones and computers. Both facility-based and telerehab exercise training have yielded positive results in people with MS, but have not been compared head-to-head. The current study will fill this gap in the evidence base and compare the outcomes of delivering the same exercise interventions in a facility or in the home/community using a telerehab approach. The interventions are designed to be identical in content, with the only difference being the mode of training delivery.



Eligible Ages
Between 18 Years and 65 Years
Eligible Genders
Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion Criteria

  • Mild to moderate MS
  • Has limitations in walking but can walk 25 feet
  • Does not participate in a rigorous exercise program
  • Can travel to trial site for assessments and training

Exclusion Criteria

  • Relapse in the past 30 days
  • Other neurological or musculoskeletal disorders

Study Design

Study Type
Intervention Model
Parallel Assignment
Intervention Model Description
Two-stage randomized choice design aimed at noninferiority.
Primary Purpose
Supportive Care
Single (Outcomes Assessor)
Masking Description
Evaluators who assess clinical reported outcomes will be blinded to arm assignment.

Arm Groups

ArmDescriptionAssigned Intervention
Active Comparator
Facility-based rehabilitation
Participants will conduct the exercise program for people with MS in a facility, for example a gym, or rehabilitation center. They will receive coaching on site at the facility.
  • Behavioral: Exercise program for people with MS
    The intervention consists of 30 minutes of resistance training and 30 minutes of cardio three times per week for 16 weeks.
Active Comparator
Participants will conduct the exercise program for people with MS at home and receive coaching via phone or Skype sessions.
  • Behavioral: Exercise program for people with MS
    The intervention consists of 30 minutes of resistance training and 30 minutes of cardio three times per week for 16 weeks.

Recruiting Locations

University of Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama 35209
Petra Silic

More Details

Shepherd Center, Atlanta GA

Study Contact

Louise Palmer, MA

Detailed Description

Funded by Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), this four-year, multi-site study aims to compare the effectiveness of a 16-week telerehabilitation (telerehab) exercise program and a facility-based exercise program on Multiple Sclerosis (MS) outcomes. The research study design is a two-stage randomized choice design aimed at non-inferiority.

Four hundred participants with MS who have ambulatory difficulties will be recruited from nine sites. First level randomization will assign participants to one of two groups - Choice or Random. The participants in Choice will be able to choose in which program they wish to participate (telerehab or facility-based). Individuals in the Random group, will be further randomized to either the telerehab or facility-based program. The research protocol and associated tools will be reviewed and approved by all relevant Research Review Committees before any research takes place. The study will comply with best practices in human subjects' research including following HIPAA guidelines and using strict informed consent procedures. Clinical reported outcome measures and patient reported outcome measures will be administered at baseline, immediately post-intervention (at 16 weeks), and at 12 months post-intervention. Patient reported outcomes will also be administered at 2 months and 6 months after the start of the intervention.

Dr. Deborah Backus is the principal investigator (PI) and Prof. Robert Motl is the co-Principal Investigator supported by collaborating co-Investigators at the Cleveland Clinic Mellen Center, Ohio; Marquette University, Wisconsin; University of Colorado, Denver; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; the University of Georgia; the Tanner Center for Multiple Sclerosis, Birmingham Alabama; Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; and the iConquerMS outcomes data collaborative (Accelerated Cure Project for MS). Shepherd Center is the primary and coordinating site for all study activities under Dr. Backus. University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) under the leadership of Prof. Motl will oversee delivery of the training programs, and statistical analysis under the direction of Dr. Gary Cutter.

This study will yield important data regarding the comparative impact of exercise programs on MS outcomes and provide information to people with MS, health providers, payers, exercise partners, and policy makers about how people with MS who have ambulatory difficulties can safely and effectively exercise.


Study information shown on this site is derived from ClinicalTrials.gov (a public registry operated by the National Institutes of Health). The listing of studies provided is not certain to be all studies for which you might be eligible. Furthermore, study eligibility requirements can be difficult to understand and may change over time, so it is wise to speak with your medical care provider and individual research study teams when making decisions related to participation.