Decreased Activity Levels in MS Patients Linked To Cognitive Impairment (Multiple Sclerosis News):
“A new study published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy assessed the cognitive factors affected in multiple sclerosis patients concerning their activity and participation in everyday life…MS is considered the leading cause of disability among working age adults, and it can have a significant negative impact on a patient’s quality of life. It is estimated that within five years after disease diagnosis, the rate of employment drops from 90% to 20–30%. In addition, only around 35% of MS patients report normal social and lifestyle activities.
The identification of factors linked to the limitations experienced by MS patients may help occupational therapists develop effective intervention strategies. Since cognitive impairment is frequently linked to a decline in social participation and employment, in the study, researchers investigated cognitive factors linked to both activity and participation…
“The only variable significantly related to activity and participation was processing speed,” concluded the study’s lead author Dr. Yael Goverover in a press release. “For occupational therapists, this means that implementing strategies that improve processing speed may help people with MS maintain their daily activities and stay in the workplace. In light of the close association between cognitive factors and cooking, providers should be aware that decline in cooking skills may be sign of cognitive decline in MS.”
Study: Factors That Moderate Activity Limitation and Participation Restriction in People With Multiple Sclerosis (American Journal of Occupational Therapy)
- Abstract: We examined the variables most associated with activity limitation (i.e., cooking) and participation restriction (i.e., employment) in 72 people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Participants underwent a comprehensive neuropsychological test battery assessing memory, executive functions, visual perception, and processing speed and completed questionnaires assessing activity, participation, fatigue, and affective symptoms. Results showed that processing speed was the only variable consistently significantly related to both activity and participation. When examining specific aspects of activity and participation in isolation, employment status was significantly associated with education level, visual memory, fatigue, and processing speed. Cooking ability was associated with performance on tasks of working memory, verbal memory, and processing speed. These findings suggest that processing speed is a primary cognitive factor in MS influencing quality of both activity and participation in everyday life.