February 28, 2022

Impact of Exercise as a Complementary Management Strategy in People with Epilepsy: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Abstract found in DocWire News and originally published in Epilepsy & Behavior

Objective: To measure the impact of 12 weeks of physical exercise as complementary management strategy on quality of life (QOL) in people with epilepsy (PWE).

Methods: In a parallel-group, randomized controlled study with blinded outcome assessment, PWE of 18-65 years old, smartphone users were randomized into two groups. The exercise group was advised minimum 150 min per week of moderate-intense aerobic activity, as per current WHO recommendation [1], in addition to standard medical care; the control group received only standard medical care. QOL was assessed using Quality of Life in Epilepsy (QOLIE-31) inventory [2,3]; physical activity, with Global Physical Activity Questionnaire version 2 (GPAQ), and Pedometer Step Counter (a smartphone-based activity tracker application), at baseline and after 12 weeks. Body weight, body mass index, seizure frequency, and stigma scores (Epilepsy Stigma Scale Austin and colleagues) [4] were also noted.

Results: One hundred and seventeen PWE were recruited (58 exercise, 59 control). Although there was an improvement in the physical activity correlates after 12 weeks compared to mean values at baseline, the differences were not significant between the groups. The total QOL mean scores at baseline in the exercise and control groups were 64.9 and 63.7 (p = 0.597) and after 12 weeks, 68.4 and 66.9 (p = 0.660), respectively. However, intragroup comparison of energy/fatigue score in the exercise group showed significant change with a p value of 0.009 and intragroup comparison of Overall QOL score in the control group showed a significant change with a p value of 0.003. Similar improvement was seen in stigma scores (p = 0.500) and seizure frequency (p = 0.388) at 12 weeks in exercise and control groups. After 12 weeks, mean values of METS ((metabolic equivalents) were 794.81 and 714.27 (p = 0.159), steps per day were 4018.32 and 3730.0 (p = 0.314), calories spent per day were 173.85 and 159.68 (p = 0.320 and distance walked per day in meters were 2576.52 and 2198.42 (p = 0.072), in the exercise and control groups, respectively.

Significance: Regular physical activity for at least 150 min per week, in the form of moderate-intense aerobic exercises resulted in positive yet non-significant improvement of quality of life, seizure frequency, and stigma in people with epilepsy.