Dr. Lara Pilutti runs the Clinical Exercise Physiology Lab at the University of Ottawa. The goal of her research program is to optimize the accessibility of physical activity and exercise for people with both progressive and relapsing-remitting MS. Her team is specifically interested in providing exercise programs for MS patients with a higher disability level or for those using assistive mobility devices such as walkers or wheelchairs. Exercise programs are administered through various forms of media including teleconferencing and internet-based interventions.
Dr. Pilutti's projects include:
- Functional electrical stimulation (FES) cycling for patients with MS who have difficulty walking. FES uses electrical stimulation to cause muscle contractions which subsequently increases strength and mobility.
- Using exercise to reduce the risk factors for chronic health conditions that accompany a MS diagnosis such as heart disease and diabetes.
- Examining upper limb function in people with MS to better understand how it is affected and to design rehabilitation interventions.
- Using resistance training in older adults with advanced MS to determine the safety, feasibility, and efficacy of this home-based exercise program.
- Most recently, Dr. Pilutti has begun a teleconferencing program to increase physical activity for people with MS and their caregivers together. It is a 12-week program with a group teleconference call every other week to discuss strategies for increasing physical activity within their own community.
Outcome measures of Dr. Pilutti’s research have shown that patients can increase their aerobic endurance, muscle strength, and mobility while reducing fatigue, blood pressure and cholesterol. This exciting research will increase the overall quality of life for caregivers and patients with MS.