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National MS Society Key In Funding Research, Technology

AURORA, Colo (CBS4) – Bike MS is the largest multiple sclerosis fundraiser in Colorado. It raises about nearly $4 million, which in part pays for research and technology to benefit people living with MS.

Dr. Jeff Hebert P.T., PhD is a certified MS specialist at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He developed a series of exercises that he's been studying in MS patients.

"This comes out of the world of vestibular rehabilitation," Hebert told CBS4.

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The vestibular system is in the inner ear, and when it doesn't work it causes dizziness, vertigo, and balance issues. These are the same symptoms with which some MS patients suffer.

"If I implement this vestibular rehab program into the world of MS, would it provide similar outcomes, balance improvements, fatigue and also dizziness improvements?" said Hebert, outlining the question that inspired his research.

He began doing studies, funded by the National MS Society, and he came up with some intriguing results.

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"If they can balance themselves better and integrate those sensory systems better, the brain then kind of calms down and does not provide that symptomatic fatigue as much," he explained.

MS patients from his studies provide anecdotal input.

I was like, 'What are these little movements going to do?' But as I went through, I think I was in a 10-week program, substantial changes, my balance, my fatigue went substantially down," said Becky Hueske, a study participant.

Hebert can also track his research on this Balance Performance Lab, also paid for by the National MS Society.

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"We can then put numbers to their balance or instability," he said.

Numbers that improve after patients do the exercises.

"Being able to treat symptoms and improve quality of life is huge," Hueske added.

"Providing individuals with something that they can tangibly empower themselves to take home and do for themselves, I think it's very important," said Hebert.

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