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In Multiple Sclerosis, Hand Strength May Indicate Disease Status

May 30, 2017

According to findings presented at the 2017 Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers Annual Meeting in New Orleans, hand function may be a sensitive component form monitoring disease progression over time in multiple sclerosis (MS). In order to determine this, a team of researchers led by Megan C. Romba, MD, of John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, conducted a longitudinal study of hand grip strength in 61 patients with MS. The patients (relapsing-remitting MS [n=37] and secondary progressive MS [n=24]) had EDSS scores from 0 to 8.5 and were followed for an average of 5 years. Bilateral grip strength was evaluated annually using dynamometry; EDSS and Timed 25-Foot Walk test were also administered.

The investigators found that both weaker and dominant hand grip strength was significantly correlated with slower Time 25-Foot Walker time. They also adjusted age, MS disease subtype, symptom duration, and sex, and observed a significant annual decline in weaker and dominant hand grip function.  Ultimately, monitoring hand strength with a dynamometer may be an objective and sensitive measure to add to MS disease status assessments. Further studies are required to asses hand grip strength as a clinical outcome and establish a clinically important change.

Via Neurology Advisor