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Occupational therapy study: Improving processing speed seen as key target to help patients with multiple sclerosis


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.

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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