Individualized compensatory cognitive rehabilitation can improve the quality of life of people living with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to the results of a study published in Multiple Sclerosis Journal – Experimental, Translational and Clinical.

According to first author Kathleen C. Munger, MD, and the coauthors of the study, this finding supports the need for further analysis of the potential benefits of this type of treatment.

Previous research has shown that cognitive rehabilitation only leads to limited benefits in people with MS. However, this could be because most of the studies focused on cognitive function scores instead of measures of quality of life. Those studies that did look into quality of life measures mainly evaluated group cognitive rehabilitation, which, according to the authors of the present study, is less appropriate due to variable cognitive profiles in people with MS.


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To assess the impact of an individualized cognitive rehabilitation approach on quality of life in people with MS, a team of researchers led by Megan H. Hyland, MD, from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York performed a retrospective chart review of quality of life in neurological disorders (NeuroQoL) assessments done by people with MS.

Twelve participants aged 43 to 52 years, 75% of whom had relapsing-remitting MS, did the assessment before and after participating in an individualized compensatory cognitive program.

The researchers compared the scores of these patients to those of people with MS who were eligible for the program but did not participate. They found that people with MS who participated in the rehabilitation program had improved sleep, less fatigue and anxiety, and better cognitive function.

“Individualized compensatory cognitive rehabilitation appears effective for improving [quality of life] measures in [people with MS] with cognitive complaints,” the researchers concluded.

The NeuroQoL is a self-report of health-related quality of life for adults and children with neurological disorders. It has domains and subdomains such as sleep disturbance, fatigue, anxiety, depression, stigma, cognitive function, social role participation, and social role satisfaction.

Reference

Munger KC, Martinez AP, Hyland MH. The impact of cognitive rehabilitation on quality of life in multiple sclerosis: a pilot study. Mult Scler J Exp Transl Clin. 2021;7(3):20552173211040239. doi:10.1177/20552173211040239