Anxiety and depression contribute to poor quality of life in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and those with neuromyelitis optical spectrum disorder (NMOSD), according to results of a new study published in Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders. These are 2 of the main central nervous system demyelinating diseases.

Given the conditions’ differing pathogenesis and degenerative processes, the team aimed to compare the quality of life (QoL) and changes to it over time among patients with MS and NMOSD, as well as to assess the factors that affect their QoL at baseline and in the follow-up.

The patients’ QoL was assessed with the EuroQoL-5 Dimension utility index (weighted for characteristics of the South Korean population), the Expanded Disability Status Scale (widely used for patients with MS and NMOSD), and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).

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The results revealed that in both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses, patients with both conditions had similar levels of QoL to each other, which were much lower than that of the general population. In particular, for both disease conditions at baseline and follow-up, the total HADS score represented an independent risk factor for poorer QoL.

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“Our findings suggest that alleviating these neuropsychiatric symptoms may help improve the QoL of patients with MS and NMOSD,” the researchers wrote.

“Future studies are necessary to confirm our findings and to evaluate the efficacy of management and pharmacological treatment to alleviate depression/anxiety symptoms, which may subsequently improve the QoL.”

Over time, the group with NMOSD showed a slight improvement in neurological functioning, but neither group of patients showed changes in QoL. A total of 171 patients underwent the initial QoL evaluation, and 76 who did not experience attacks completed the follow-up assessment.


Kim S, Lee EJ, Kim KW, et al. Quality of life of patients with multiple sclerosis and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders: cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis. Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2022;58:103500. doi:10.1016/j.msard.2022.103500