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MS research update - How MS affects other people - 18 January 2012

How MS affects other people

MS affects not only the person who has MS but also other people around them. They may have to adjust to a different lifestyle, uncertainty about the future or frustration over the treatment options amongst other things.

This study looked at the effect of MS on the significant others of 142 people with MS in Italy. Significant others are people, such as a husband, wife, partner, close family member or friend, who are important or influential in the life of the person with MS.

The researchers looked for depression and also at health related quality of life. The latter is often used in scientific studies as a measure of someone's well being. It covers a variety of aspects of their physical, mental, emotional and social functioning.

142 significant others took part in the study and had an average age of 53. Exactly half were women and two thirds were partners of a person with MS. 120 other people acted as controls for the study.

The researchers found that significant others were affected, showing a lower vitality and psychological well being. This was not related to how much MS physically affected their companion but did correspond with how much depression affected the person with MS.

Giordano A, Ferrari G, Radice D, et al.
Health-related quality of life and depressive symptoms in significant others of people with multiple sclerosis: a community study.
Eur J Neurol. 2012 Jan 10. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2011.03638.x. [Epub ahead of print]

Keeping good posture is harder when also thinking about a task

Many people with MS find it difficult to keep a good posture as they may sway, slump or sit lop-sided. Often, people feel that they have to concentrate to stay upright. This can seem even harder if they need to concentrate on something else at the same time.

This study looked into this in more detail for people mildly or moderately affected by MS. 45 people had their posture measured beforehand and then again while they did a word list generation task. This task involves coming up with as many words as possible in a short space of time, perhaps three minutes. There is usually a theme such as the words must all be animals or must all begin with the same letter.

The people with moderate MS had more difficulty controlling their posture than the more mildly affected. The amount of swaying got worse when they were doing the word task.

Boes MK, Sosnoff JJ, Socie MJ, et al.
Postural control in multiple sclerosis: Effects of disability status and dual task.
J Neurol Sci. 2012 Jan 9. [Epub ahead of print]

Research by topic areas...

MS relapses

Healy BC, Degano IR, Schreck A, et al.
The impact of a recent relapse on patient-reported outcomes in subjects with multiple sclerosis.
Qual Life Res. 2012 Jan 12. [Epub ahead of print]

Disease modifying treatments

Mangla S, Jain S, Selkirk S.
Disease-modifying agents in progressive multiple sclerosis: Management of 100 patients at Louis Stokes Cleveland VAMC, Spinal Cord Injury Division.
J Rehabil Res Dev. 2011;48(10):1223-30.

Other treatments

Kalanie H, Harandi AA, Alidaei S, et al.
Venous thrombosis in multiple sclerosis patients after high-dose intravenous methylprednisolone: the preventive effect of enoxaparin.


Givon U, Zeilig G, Dolev M, et al.
The month of birth and the incidence of multiple sclerosis in the Israeli population.
Neuroepidemiology. 2012 Jan 6;38(1):64-68. [Epub ahead of print]

Assessment tools

Allali G, Laidet M, Assal F, et al.
Adapted timed up and go: a rapid clinical test to assess gait and cognition in multiple sclerosis.
Eur Neurol. 2012 Jan 10;67(2):116-120. [Epub ahead of print]

Vitamin D

Handel AE, Ramagopalan SV.
Vitamin D and multiple sclerosis: an interaction between genes and environment.
Mult Scler. 2012 Jan;18(1):2-4.


Nischwitz S, Müller-Myhsok B, Weber F.
Risk conferring genes in multiple sclerosis.
FEBS Lett. 2011 Dec 1;585(23):3789-97.

Psychological aspects

Takeda A, Nakajima M, Kobayakawa M, et al.
Attention deficits in Japanese multiple sclerosis patients with minor brain lesion loads.
Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2011;7:745-51.

Brissart H, Morele E, Baumann C, et al.
Verbal episodic memory in 426 multiple sclerosis patients: impairment in encoding, retrieval or both?
Neurol Sci. 2012 Jan 13. [Epub ahead of print]

Chiaravalloti ND, Wylie G, Leavitt V, et al.
Increased cerebral activation after behavioral treatment for memory deficits in MS.
J Neurol. 2012 Jan 12.[Epub ahead of print]

Nordin L, Rorsman Ia.
Cognitive behavioural therapy in multiple sclerosis: A randomized controlled pilot study of acceptance and commitment therapy.
J Rehabil Med. 2012 Jan;44(1):87-90.

Amann M, Dössegger LS, Penner IK, et al.
Altered functional adaptation to attention and working memory tasks with increasing complexity in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis patients.
Hum Brain Mapp. 2011 Oct;32(10):1704-19.

Riccitelli G, Rocca MA, Pagani E, et al.
Cognitive impairment in multiple sclerosis is associated to different patterns of gray matter atrophy according to clinical phenotype.
Hum Brain Mapp. 2011 Oct;32(10):1535-43.

Physical activity

Dlugonski D, Motl RW, McAuley E.
Increasing physical activity in multiple sclerosis: Replicating internet intervention effects using objective and self-report outcomes.
J Rehabil Res Dev. 2011;48(9):1129-36.

Bosnak-Guclu M, Gunduz AG, Nazliel B, et al.
Comparison of functional exercise capacity, pulmonary function and respiratory muscle strength in patients with multiple sclerosis with different disability levels and healthy controls.
J Rehabil Med. 2012 Jan;44(1):80-6.


Rae-Grant AD, Turner AP, Sloan A, et al.
Self-management in neurological disorders: systematic review of the literature and potential interventions in multiple sclerosis care.
J Rehabil Res Dev. 2011;48(9):1087-100.

Stem cells

Connick P, Kolappan M, Crawley C, et al.
Autologous mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis: an open-label phase 2a proof-of-concept study.
Lancet Neurol. 2012 Jan 9. [Epub ahead of print]

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