Background: Exercise as a subset of physical activity is a cornerstone in the management of multiple sclerosis (MS) based on its pleiotropic effects, but continued progression of the field requires better future designs and methodologies. Objectives: This paper outlines the work of the ‘Study design and methodology’ group of the MoXFo (moving exercise research forward) initiative, and addresses critical aspects and future directions when defining the research question of interest, and subsequently, designing the study and exercise intervention in MS patients. Methods: The work is based on the formation of an international expert panel formed within the MoXFo initiative. We provide a structured and concise synthesis of exercise-specific MS research challenges and considerations when designing randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Results: Challenges and considerations are presented using the Patient population, Intervention, Comparator, Outcomes, Timing, Setting (PICOTS) framework, thereby forming a new and specific MS exercise PICOTS framework. Conclusion: We propose that researchers should carefully consider and align all elements of this MS exercise PICOTS framework when developing future research questions and study designs, ultimately improving the quality of new exercise studies in people with MS.



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Publication Title

Multiple Sclerosis Journal



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School of Health Professions