Physical activity is associated with cognitive processing speed in persons with multiple sclerosis

Brian M. Sandroff, Deirdre Dlugonski, Lara A. Pilutti, John H. Pula, Ralph H.B. Benedict, Robert W. Motl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The impairment of cognitive processing speed is common, disabling, and poorly managed in multiple sclerosis (MS). This study examined the association between objectively-measured physical activity and cognitive processing speed (CPS) in a large sample of persons with MS. Patients (N=212) underwent two valid neuropsychological tests of CPS, completed the Timed 25-Foot Walk (T25FW), and wore an ActiGraph model GT3X accelerometer during the waking hours of a 7-day period for objectively measuring physical activity as steps/day. Physical activity was significantly associated with CPS (r=.39, p<.01), even when controlling for age, sex, and education (pr=.26, p<.01). This association was attenuated, but still significant after further controlling for T25FW performance (pr=.13, p=.03). Physical activity behavior is positively and independently, albeit weakly, associated with CPS in persons with MS, and may play an important role in managing this aspect of cognition as it does in other outcomes in MS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-128
Number of pages6
JournalMultiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • Accelerometer
  • Cognition
  • Cognitive processing speed
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Physical activity
  • Walking performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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