Authors find two new disability measures
In a new study, researchers established two new observer-independent measures of disability. A motor performance index discriminated MS patients according to disability, and mean of range of motion was found to be extremely sensitive in measuring motor impairment within patients. The authors said that if confirmed in larger studies, this sensitivity will be of crucial importance for monitoring disease course and treatment effects in relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis patients.
The authors set out to investigate the feasibility of gait analysis in MS, by using commercial wearable inertial sensors, and to establish novel and sensitive observer-independent measures of disability. They conducted a cross-sectional study of 80 MS patients and 50 healthy controls. Lower-limb kinematics was evaluated by using a commercially available magnetic inertial measurement unit system. Mean and standard deviation of range of motion (mROM, sROM) for each joint of lower limbs were calculated in one minute walking test. A motor performance index (E) defined as the sum of sROMs was proposed.
What they found was that hip mROM was extremely sensitive in measuring lower limb motor impairment, being linked with muscle strength and altered in patients without clinically detectable disability. On the other hand, E index sorted out patients according to disability, being altered only in patients with moderate and severe disability, regardless of walking speed. It was strongly linked with fatigue and patient-perceived health status.
The results were published in the journal PLoS One.
Study: Psychosocial intervention boosts coping styles
A new study highlights the issue of the difficulties of living with MS, including its negative effect on social relationships. The authors argue that a psychosocial intervention is needed to increase the adaptive way by MS patients cope with their disease and to provide patients with the best care and quality of life.
The researchers set out to measure the differences between MS patients and healthy controls in coping styles, exploring which of the MS clinical features influence the adaptive responses. The authors enrolled 94 healthy controls and 135 MS patients, according to the McDonald 2010 criteria. Coping strategies were assessed using the Italian version of the questionnaire “Coping Orientation to the Problems Experienced.”
They found that MS patients are less inclined to use coping strategies that involved seeking social support and problem solving than healthy controls. In MS group, women are found to be more socially oriented than men and social support worsens with increasing of disease duration. A relationship between level of disability and avoidance strategies was also found.
The findings were presented at ECTRIMS in Barcelona.
Migraines common regardless of socio-economic status
A new study found that headache, especially migraine, is common among MS patients regardless of socio-economic status and treatment setting. Female MS patients with walking disability and longer disease duration tend to get migraines. Hispanic MS patients have a higher likelihood of suffering from chronic migraines.
Researchers looked at prevalence and type of headache across a multiethnic MS population, and relationship between MS-related clinical factors and migraine. They conducted a study of 233 MS patients at two clinical sites, one at a county hospital, and the other a private academic center clinic. They collected demographic data, MS characteristics, and headache histories using validated survey instruments including Headache Impact Test and Patient Health Questionnaire-9.
They found that headaches were common, regardless of socio-economic status, the most common type being migraine. Chronic migraine was more common among Hispanics than Whites. Headache’s effect on daily life, measured by Headache Impact Test score and Patient Health Questionnaire-9 score were significantly higher in the public sector. Women and those with an ambulatory disability were found to be more likely to suffer from migraines.
The findings were published in the journal of Clinical Neurology & Neurosurgery.
Researchers seek participants for spasticity study
Sun Pharma Advanced Research Company Limited is currently recruiting participants for a phase 3 study on the efficacy and safety of baclofen ER capsules in subjects with spasticity due to multiple sclerosis.
The primary efficacy outcome is the proportion of subjects who become a treatment failure during double-blind randomized withdrawal and determining the safety profile when administered over more than 12 weeks. The secondary outcome measure is a subject global impression of severity assessment.
Men and women, 18 years and older, are eligible to participate. Inclusion criteria consists of women of child-bearing potential practicing an acceptable method of birth control for the duration of the study as judged by the investigator for at least three months prior to study entry or postmenopausal for at least one year or surgically sterile (bilateral oophorectomy or hysterectomy); if female, negative pregnancy test; known history of spasticity due to MS prior to starting baclofen; a stable daily dose of baclofen IR, ranging from 30 to 60 mg/day; able and willing to comply with the protocol, including availability for scheduled clinic visits; and the giving of written informed consent.
Exclusion criteria consists of a history of hypersensitivity to baclofen; in relapse or history of unstable course during the 30 days prior to the screening visit; concomitant neurologic conditions causing spasticity; has received an investigational drug or device within 30 days that would interfere with the study goals prior to the screening visit; unable to comply with study procedures in the opinion of the investigator; has had major surgery within three months prior to screening visit that may affect spasticity assessments such as abdominal surgery, back surgery, or lower leg or knee surgeries.
To learn more about the study, contact Dr. Shravanti Bhowmik at Shravanti.Bhowmik@sparcmail.com. Refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01457352.
Website to watch
According to their blog, “Movie writers would never dream up a fairytale of two people with multiple sclerosis falling in love and living happily ever after. But Jennifer and Dan have been living this truest of love stories as a married couple since 2005.” Together, the Digmanns have been living and loving with MS since they were married Sept. 10, 2005. Jennifer was diagnosed in 1997 with secondary-progressive MS. Dan was diagnosed in 1999 with relapsing-remitting MS. Their writings are as much about their marriage to MS as it is about their marriage to each other.
Their blog has a very professional appearance, which is part of a larger site the Digmanns maintain, is updated monthly and is very readable. While the blog includes an extensive blogroll, if there is a shortcoming for the site visitor, it is the lack of an obvious archive. Each post comes with a “Filed Under” listing at the end, but there is no separate archive list to filter posts by month or subject. But that’s a comparatively minor inconvenience for a site that is fairly easy to navigate. The larger site also contains a link to their book and speaking engagements.