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Focusing on Quality of Life in MS

August 10, 2017

A longitudinal study done by Bardia Nourbakhsh, MD of UCSF titled; "Fatigue and depression predict quality of life in patients with early multiple sclerosis,” focused on the baseline severity of fatigue and depression predicted subsequent changes in physical components of health-related quality of life.

This study primarily used patients with early onset MS, measuring quality of life between 8 different areas of health including mental and physical components.

“Quality-of-life is pretty important in other of areas of medicine – for example, cancer – and is also a big issue in patients with chronic neurological disorders such as MS.” Nourbakhsh said. “I thought that now that we have many treatments for relapses, maybe we'll pay more attention to other aspects of the disease. Fortunately, many, many researchers are attending progression in multiple sclerosis. Again, I thought quality-of-life is something that's less studied, so I thought that would be a good area to study basically and that would be very helpful for patients and families that are affected with multiple sclerosis.”

43 patients were recruited to take part in this 3-year study, half of them were assigned to the drug Riluzole and the other half a placebo. Simply put there was no reaction to the test group, Riluzole didn't show any effect on brain atrophy or any other outcome.

“I think the biggest takeaway is we saw that fatigue, depression, cognitive changes, and physical disability all affect different aspects of quality-of-life in patients with early MS. Even in patients with early MS, with minimal disability, these components, these factors, affect their quality-of-life. And probably addressing those ... for example, maybe we can't do much about cognitive changes nowadays, but fatigue, depression probably are treatable, and addressing those issues could probably improve the quality-of-life for patients with MS.”

Read Dr. Nourbakhsh full synopsis of the study here