Vestibular Rehabilitation in Multiple Sclerosis (VeRMiS)

Researchers: Marsden J. (PI), Pavlou M., Freeman J., Bamiou D., Harris C., Hawton A., Creanor S.

The VeRMiS study will involve 140 ambulant pwMS who present with vertigo and/or dizziness across two study centres: Plymouth and London, UK. 

The project draws on the expertise of researchers across the University including the School of Health Professions and the School of Psychology.

VeRMiS study web page

Background 

Vertigo, dizziness, poor balance and abnormalities in the control of eye movements are symptoms that may be associated with vestibular problems. 

Such symptoms are common in people with multiple sclerosis (pwMS), can lead to falls, injury, and a restriction on outdoor mobility, and subsequently may affect social participation and quality of life.

The vestibular system is complex. It consists of the inner ear and vestibular nerve (the peripheral pathways) and pathways in the brain (central pathways) that process information about head and body position. 

Damage to any of these pathways can result in symptoms of vertigo, dizziness, poor balance and abnormalities of eye movement.

Vestibular rehabilitation (VR) is the standard of care for persons with vestibular problems. VR involves progressive exercises including eye, head, and body movements in sitting, standing and walking. 

Given the complexity of symptom presentation in people with MS, such as muscle weakness, spasticity, sensory loss and ataxia, it may be that customised exercises are more effective and cost-effective than home-based generic exercises delivered via a booklet, as is current usual practice.