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Cross-sectional research has demonstrated poorer function and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in those with multiple sclerosis (MS) but less is known about change over time. The goals of this study were to measure change in HRQOL and identify factors associated with change.
HRQOL was assessed at baseline and annually over two subsequent years using the Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life Inventory. Function was assessed using the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) and the Multiple Sclerosis Functional Composite. Annualized rate of change was calculated for all twenty outcomes. Mixed effects modeling (univariate followed by multivariate) was used to examine the associations among patient characteristics and the age- and sex-adjusted Physical Component Summary (PCS) and Mental Component Summary (MCS) at study initiation and over the two years of follow-up.
Of 300 participants, 288 (96%) provided at least one assessment and are included in this analysis. Although 14 of the 20 outcomes showed a mean decline, only two (SF-36 physical function, p=0.018 and the EDSS, p<0.001) were statistically significant. The SF-36 social function showed a significant improvement (p=0.031). Only two variables were significantly associated with a decreased rate of decline or improvement over two years, including being female (PCS, p=0.001) and use of visiting nurse services (MCS, p<0.001).
HRQOL is relatively stable over two years of follow-up, particularly for mentally-oriented outcomes. Further research with a longer period of follow-up is needed to provide additional insight into factors associated with change in HRQOL in patients with MS.
To explore the influence of environmental conditions on pattern visual evoked potential (VEP) recordings.
Fourteen subjects with no known ocular pathology were recruited for the study. In an attempt to optimize the recording conditions, VEP recordings were performed in both the seated and recumbent positions. Comparisons were made between recordings using either LCD or CRT displays and recordings obtained in silence or with quiet background music. Paired recordings (in which only one variable was changed) were analyzed for changes in P100 latency, RMS noise, and variability.
Baseline RMS noise demonstrated a significant decrease in the variability during the first 50msec accompanied by a 73% decrease in recording time for recumbent position when compared to the seated position (p<0.05). Visual evoked potentials recorded using LCD monitors demonstrated a significant increase in the P100 latency when compared to CRT recordings in the same subjects. The addition of background music did not affect the amount of RMS noise during the first 50msec of the recordings.
This study demonstrates that the use of the recumbent position increases patient comfort and improves the signal to noise ratio. In contrast, the addition of background music to relax the patient did not improve the recording signal. Furthermore, the study illustrates the importance of avoiding low-contrast visual stimulation patterns obtained with LCD as they lead to higher latencies resulting in false positive recordings. These findings are important when establishing or modifying a pattern VEP recording protocol.
Much research has gone into the assessment of function and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in those with multiple sclerosis (MS). The Medical Outcomes Study 36-item short form (SF-36) has been widely used in this population but current recommendations are that it be supplemented with condition-specific measures such as the MS Quality of Life Inventory (MSQLI) and the MS Functional Composite (MSFC). The goal of the baseline component of this study was the measurement of generic and condition-specific HRQOL, and the identification of factors associated with these outcomes.
HRQOL was assessed at the baseline phase of a longitudinal study. Participants completed the assessment during their regularly scheduled clinic visit.
300 of 387 eligible patients agreed to participate, for a response rate of 77.5%. Age ranged from 22 to 77 years, while duration of MS ranged from 1 to 47 years. Mean SF-36 scores were well below age- and sex-adjusted normative data. Only 240 completed the MSFC component. Higher EDSS, use of support services, pain medications, clinical depression and antidepressant use were associated with poorer HRQOL, while higher income and education were associated with better HRQOL.
There is a substantial burden of illness associated with MS when compared to normative HRQOL data. This was more pronounced in physically- than in mentally-oriented domains. Assessment of HRQOL provides a valuable complement to the EDSS by providing information about the patient perception of function and HRQOL beyond that which can be obtained by physical assessment alone.
Patients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis on the disease modifying therapy of glatiramer acetate may be experiencing an adverse reaction of lipoatrophy at the sites of their subcutaneous injections. The purpose of this study was to complete a full examination of the injection site areas for users of glatiramer acetate, and to examine the relationship between lipoatrophy and patient characteristics.
Glatiramer acetate users were identified by means of chart review. Over six months, during regular clinic appointments, assessment included a full examination of injection site areas including visual inspection and manual palpation. Additional patient and clinical characteristics were obtained by means of chart review and patient questioning.
Seventy-six patients had been or were current users of glatiramer acetate. Of these, 34 (45%) had evidence of lipoatrophy in at least one injection site area. All were female, and five had severe, nine had moderate and 20 had mild lipoatrophy. In some cases, lipoatrophy occurred within months of therapy initiation. Case reviews are included for five of the 34 patients, along with photographs of the lipoatrophy, a magnetic resonance image and comments on skin biopsies.
Prevalence of lipoatrophy was much higher than expected. Possible reasons for this adverse reaction are explored and suggested treatment recommendations are reviewed. Lipoatrophy can be very disfiguring and is thought to be permanent, and the psychological impact can be significant. It is, therefore, important that patients be aware of the possibility of lipoatrophy, be able to identify it and discontinue injecting in areas where it is identified.
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