Altered integration of signals from visual (VIS), somatosensory (PROP) and vestibular system (VEST) lead to balance control impairments affecting the daily living activities of patients with multiple sclerosis (PwMS). As a consequence, tailored interventions could be crucial in improving efficacy of balance rehabilitation treatments.
The study estimates the cost of multiple sclerosis (MS) in Italy quantifying the impact of the rehabilitation on cost of illness. Patients with MS were enrolled at MS clinical centres, in rehabilitation units and among members with MS of the Italian MS Society across the Italy. The MS costs were captured with a questionnaire and were estimated taking into account both healthcare and non-healthcare costs as well as the productivity losses. Mean total annual costs per patients were 37,948, increasing for different disease severity: from 22,750 at an EDSS score of 0-3 to 63,047 at an EDSS score equal to or more than 7. 3,418 was due to rehabilitation (about 26.7 % of direct healthcare costs) and of these 44 % was attributable to admission to rehabilitation. The multivariate analysis showed a consistent trend toward increased total cost with progressive severity of MS, with presence of relapses, while the total cost decreases with a better quality of life. The burden increases as the MS becomes more severe and with relapse occurrence, moreover we observed high costs due to admission to rehabilitation suggesting that different rehabilitation setting might be considered to reduce the financial burden and increase the quality of life for person with MS.
Identification of MS registries and databases that are currently in use in Europe as well as a detailed knowledge of their content and structure is important in order to facilitate comprehensive analysis and comparison of data.
The aim of the study was to identify the main factors that impact mobility impairment in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients in Italy. Clinicians from a large number of Italian MS centers took part in a Delphi process aimed at obtaining consensus statements among the participants. Large consensus was obtained for statements grouped under the following main MS themes: identification of the most useful scales to evaluate mobility, integration of objective evaluation with patient perceptions, impact of walking impairment on daily life, management of the disabled patient using a rehabilitative and pharmacological approach. The consensus statements developed by a large number of experts may be used as a practical reference tool to help physicians treat MS patients with motor impairment.
For almost three decades in many countries azathioprine has been used to treat relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. However its efficacy was usually considered marginal and following approval of ? interferons for this indication it was no longer recommended as first line treatment, even if presently no conclusive direct ? interferon-azathioprine comparison exists. To compare azathioprine efficacy versus the currently available ? interferons in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, a multicenter, randomized, controlled, single-blinded, non-inferiority trial was conducted in 30 Italian multiple sclerosis centers. Eligible patients (relapsing-remitting course; ?2 relapses in the last 2 years) were randomly assigned to azathioprine or ? interferons. The primary outcome was annualized relapse rate ratio (RR) over 2 years. Key secondary outcome was number of new brain MRI lesions. Patients (n?=?150) were randomized in 2 groups (77 azathioprine, 73 ? interferons). At 2 years, clinical evaluation was completed in 127 patients (62 azathioprine, 65 ? interferons). Annualized relapse rate was 0.26 (95% Confidence Interval, CI, 0.19-0.37) in the azathioprine and 0.39 (95% CI 0.30-0.51) in the interferon group. Non-inferiority analysis showed that azathioprine was at least as effective as ? interferons (relapse RRAZA/IFN 0.67, one-sided 95% CI 0.96; p<0.01). MRI outcomes were analyzed in 97 patients (50 azathioprine and 47 ? interferons). Annualized new T2 lesion rate was 0.76 (95% CI 0.61-0.95) in the azathioprine and 0.69 (95% CI 0.54-0.88) in the interferon group. Treatment discontinuations due to adverse events were higher (20.3% vs. 7.8%, p?=?0.03) in the azathioprine than in the interferon group, and concentrated within the first months of treatment, whereas in the interferon group discontinuations occurred mainly during the second year. The results of this study indicate that efficacy of azathioprine is not inferior to that of ? interferons for patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Considering also the convenience of the oral administration, and the low cost for health service providers, azathioprine may represent an alternative to interferon treatment, while the different side effect profiles of both medications have to be taken into account.
Few data on services for people with severe multiple sclerosis (MS) are available. The Palliative Network for Severely Affected Adults with MS in Italy (PeNSAMI) developed a home palliative care program for MS patients and carers, preceded by a literature review and qualitative study (here reported).
Upper limb impairments can occur in patients with multiple sclerosis, affecting daily living activities; however there is at present no definite agreement on the best rehabilitation treatment strategy to pursue. Moreover, motor training has been shown to induce changes in white matter architecture in healthy subjects. This study aimed at evaluating the motor behavioral and white matter microstructural changes following a 2-month upper limb motor rehabilitation treatment based on task-oriented exercises in patients with multiple sclerosis. Thirty patients (18 females and 12 males; age=43.3±8.7years) in a stable phase of the disease presenting with mild or moderate upper limb sensorimotor deficits were randomized into two groups of 15 patients each. Both groups underwent twenty 1-hour treatment sessions, three times a week. The "treatment group" received an active motor rehabilitation treatment, based on voluntary exercises including task-oriented exercises, while the "control group" underwent passive mobilization of the shoulder, elbow, wrist and fingers. Before and after the rehabilitation protocols, motor performance was evaluated in all patients with standard tests. Additionally, finger motor performance accuracy was assessed by an engineered glove. In the same sessions, every patient underwent diffusion tensor imaging to obtain parametric maps of fractional anisotropy, mean diffusivity, axial diffusivity, and radial diffusivity. The mean value of each parameter was separately calculated within regions of interest including the fiber bundles connecting brain areas involved in voluntary movement control: the corpus callosum, the corticospinal tracts and the superior longitudinal fasciculi. The two rehabilitation protocols induced similar effects on unimanual motor performance, but the bimanual coordination task revealed that the residual coordination abilities were maintained in the treated patients while they significantly worsened in the control group (p=0.002). Further, in the treatment group white matter integrity in the corpus callosum and corticospinal tracts was preserved while a microstructural integrity worsening was found in the control group (fractional anisotropy of the corpus callosum and corticospinal tracts: p=0.033 and p=0.022; radial diffusivity of the corpus callosum and corticospinal tracts: p=0.004 and p=0.008). Conversely, a significant increase of radial diffusivity was observed in the superior longitudinal fasciculi in both groups (p=0.02), indicating lack of treatment effects on this structure, showing damage progression likely due to a demyelination process. All these findings indicate the importance of administering, when possible, a rehabilitation treatment consisting of voluntary movements. We also demonstrated that the beneficial effects of a rehabilitation treatment are task-dependent and selective in their target; this becomes crucial towards the implementation of tailored rehabilitative approaches.
Motor imagery is a mental process during which subjects internally simulate a movement without any motor output. Mental and actual movement durations are similar in healthy adults (isochrony) while temporal discrepancies (anisochrony) could be an expression of neurological deficits on action representation. It is unclear whether patients with multiple sclerosis (PwMS) preserve the capacity to simulate their own movements. This study investigates the ability of PwMS to predict their own actions by comparing temporal features of dominant and non-dominant actual and mental actions. Fourteen PwMS and nineteen healthy subjects (HS) were asked to execute and to imagine pointing arm movements among four pairs of targets of different sizes. Task duration was calculated for both actual and mental movements by an optoelectronic device. Results showed temporal consistency and target-by-target size modulation in actual movements through the four cycles for both groups with significantly longer actual and mental movement durations in PwMS with respect to HS. An index of performance (IP) was used to examine actual/mental isochrony properties in the two groups. Statistical analysis on IP showed in PwMS significantly longer actual movement durations with respect to mental movement durations (anisochrony), more relevant for the non-dominant than dominant arm. Mental prediction of motor actions is not well preserved in MS where motor and cognitive functional changes are present. Differences in performing imagined task with dominant and non-dominant arm could be related to increased cognitive effort required for performing non-dominant movements.
Chronic cerebro-spinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) has been proposed as a "congenital malformation" implicated in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS). However, numerous studies failed to confirm its presence in MS patients. This paper presents the rationale, design, and methodology adopted in the CoSMo study, conducted with the aim of verifying whether or not CCSVI is linked to MS. The primary endpoint of the CoSMo study is to compare the prevalence of CCSVI in patients with MS versus patients affected by other neurodegenerative diseases (OND) and healthy volunteers. CoSMo is a multicenter, blinded, prevalence study recruiting 2,000 adult subjects, involving 43 MS centers across Italy. Assessment of the presence or absence of CCSVI is performed by color-coded duplex (CCD) sonography and two out of the five criteria according to Zamboni are necessary for the diagnosis of CCSVI. Local CCD examination carried out by a certified sonologist and the central image readings performed by experts in the field are blinded. An advanced protocol is also described in this paper. The application of a rigorous methodological design will definitively confirm whether an association exists between CCSVI and MS. Should an association be observed, this study also further examines the link between CCSVI and the severity of MS. The addition of subgroups without MS and OND also provides information on whether CCSVI is specific to MS only. Results from the CoSMo study will play a crucial role in the possible studies concerning the potential treatment of CCSVI in MS.
Improvement of sensory strategies is a relevant part of balance rehabilitation in multiple sclerosis (MS). This study aimed to Assess the effectiveness of visual-feedback exercises in improving balance in MS. We divided 36 patients into Wii and control-treated groups that underwent balance rehabilitation. Outcomes were obtained for Berg Balance Scale (BBS), Modified Fatigue Impact Scale, and sway area under conditions of opened and closed eyes. BBS showed a statistically significant improvement (from 49.6 to 54.6 points, p < 0.05) in the Wii group. Interactive visual-feedback exercises such as Wii could be more effective than the current standard protocol in improving balance disorders in MS.
Fatigue is one of the most common disabling symptoms in multiple sclerosis (MS). There is growing evidence in the literature for beneficial effects of magnetic fields on different MS symptoms and this has been reported to be beneficial in patients with MS, especially those with fatigue.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) related disorders are considered to be uncommon. We hypothesize that urinary dysfunction may occur in ALS patients in the context of spasticity of pelvic floor musculature. We recorded data on 54 subjects with ALS. All subjects were evaluated with ALSFRS and M-Ashworth Scale for lower limbs. Bladder scan procedure was performed to asses post void residual (PVR) in all subjects. Forty-one percent of subjects were symptomatic for urinary disorders and 35% of subjects had a PVR > 50 ml. Linear correlation was found between PVR and ALSFRS with a R(2) 0.95 and p = 0.025; a linear correlation was also noted between PVR and lower limbs Ashworth Scale. We conclude that urinary retention is common in ALS. Urological evaluation is indicated in ALS patients with prominent spasticity.
Increasingly, evidence-based health information, in particular evidence from systematic reviews, is being made available to lay audiences, in addition to health professionals. Research efforts have focused on different formats for the lay presentation of health information. However, there is a paucity of data on how patients integrate evidence-based health information with other factors such as their preferences for information and experiences with information-seeking. The aim of this project is to explore how people with multiple sclerosis (MS) integrate health information with their needs, experiences, preferences and values and how these factors can be incorporated into an online resource of evidence-based health information provision for people with MS and their families.
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