Pilot Study Shows that Melatonin may Improve Postural Balance, Mobility and Fall Risk in Relapsing-Remitting MS Patients

AIM: To assess the safety and the effect of a nocturnal melatonin (MEL) ingestion on postural balance, functional mobility and fall risk the following morning in adults with multiple sclerosis (MS).

METHODS: Fourteen adults with relapsing-remitting MS (RR-MS) (28.36 ± 6.81 years) were evaluated before and after nocturnal ingestion of MEL (6 mg) or placebo (PLA). Evaluations included a posturographic test of static bipedal postural balance with dual-task in eyes open (EO) and eyes closed conditions, and a clinical test of unipedal balance. The physical performance tests were: Timed Up and Go test (TUGT) (mobility), Four Square Step Test (FSST) (fall risk), and Timed 25-foot walk test (T25FWT) (walking speed). Cognitive performance [Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) and Simple Reaction Time (SRT) tests] and sleep quality [Spiegel’s sleep questionnaire (SSQ)] were also assessed.

RESULTS: In EO condition, MEL decreased the posturographic parameters [center of pressure (CoP) sway area (CoPAr), CoP path length (CoPL) and CoPL in the mediolateral axis (CoPLX)] more than PLA by 15.82% (p = 0.0006), 12.48% (p = 0.0004) and 14.25% (p = 0.0002), respectively. Durations of TUGT and FSST decreased following MEL session more than the PLA one by 14.52% (p = 0.017) and 19.85% (p = 0.0006), respectively. MEL increased the unipedal stance time, SSQ and MoCA scores more than PLA by 49.81% (p = 0.04), 32.21% (p = 0.004) and 11.87% (p = 0.008), respectively.

CONCLUSION: This pilot study showed that acute nocturnal MEL ingestion seems to be safe for enhancing postural balance, fun mobility and fall risk in RR-MS adults probably through improving sleep quality and cognitive function.

Jallouli S, et al. Effect of melatonin intake on postural balance, functional mobility and fall risk in persons with multiple sclerosis: a pilot study. Int J Neurosci. 2022 Aug 12;1-11. doi: 10.1080/00207454.2022.2090353. Online ahead of print.