Stress and MS disease activity
12 July 2012
Author: MS Trust
Managing stress may reduce MS disease activity according to research published in the journal Neurology.
The study involved 121 people with MS. Half took part in a stress management programme over five to six months involving regular sessions on relaxation, problem solving, enhancing social support and managing symptoms such as pain, fatigue and anxiety. Participants were followed for a further five to six months after the end of the programme. The other half were kept on a waiting list for sessions and acted as a control group.
MRI scans showed that 77% of people on the stress management programme showed no new lesions or areas of damage in their nerves. In the control group the proportion was 55%.
Once the programme was finished, the benefits were not sustained. The researchers are unclear as to whether this was down to people not continuing with the coping skills they had learned or if there was some aspect of taking part in the training sessions, such as the support and contact with the therapist that was producing the effects on disease activity.
Mohr DC, et al
A randomized trial of stress management for the prevention of new brain lesions in MS
Neurology 2012 July 11. [Epub ahead of print]
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