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Research Aims to Improve Quality of Life for People with Multiple Sclerosis

Podcast with MS research director addresses benefits of staying active and how research is revealing insight into best wellness practices.

Shepherd Center is engaged in a variety of research aimed at improving clinical outcomes and the quality of life for individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS), an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body..

At the hospital’s Eula C. and Andrew C. Carlos MS Rehabilitation and Wellness Research Program at Shepherd Center, researchers study the effects of rehabilitation and exercise interventions for people with MS, and studies also address vocation and quality of life. Researchers also make a concerted effort to share their findings to people with MS, as well as MS healthcare providers, caregivers and healthcare payers in hopes of optimizing function and quality of life for all people living with MS.

Shepherd Center’s MS research program is unique in that it is truly an integration of clinical and research endeavors. This integrated team, led by Deborah Backus, PT, Ph.D., FACRM, is comprised of physical and occupational therapists, speech therapists, exercise physiologists, physicians and research collaborators from various related fields and institutions, who endeavor to answer meaningful questions that can be translated into clinical practice.

Dr. Backus discussed some of the program's research – particularly studies aimed at gaining insight into best wellness practices for people with MS – in a recent Shepherd Center Radio podcast available for download at the link above or at

Dr. Backus, director of multiple sclerosis research at The Eula C. and Andrew C. Carlos Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Rehabilitation and Wellness Program at Shepherd Center. She is president-elect of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM). Dr. Backus has 30 years of experience as a rehabilitation clinician, educator and researcher. As part of the MS Rehabilitation and Wellness Program at Shepherd Center, Dr. Backus coordinates research efforts to study the health and wellness needs of people at varying stages of MS.

About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, traumatic amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. An elite center recognized as both Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top hospitals for rehabilitation. Shepherd Center treats thousands of patients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.