Multiple Sclerosis International
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The Effectiveness of Physiotherapy Interventions for Mobility in Severe Multiple Sclerosis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

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Multiple Sclerosis International publishes articles related to all aspects of multiple sclerosis, such as clinical neurology, neuroimaging, neuropathology, neuroimmunology, biomarkers, psychology and neurorehabilitation.

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Multiple Sclerosis International maintains an Editorial Board of practicing researchers from around the world, to ensure manuscripts are handled by editors who are experts in the field of study.

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Research Article

Disability and Fatigue in Multiple Sclerosis: Can Rehabilitation Improve Them through a Structured Retraining Program?

Functional rehabilitation programs in multiple sclerosis have demonstrated their efficacy in improving fatigue. The assessment of functional impairment, however, is more difficult. The purpose is to assess fatigue and disability as a first study measure and to verify their improvement after a specific functional rehabilitation program. An analytical, longitudinal, prospective, and experimental study was carried out with 51 patients aged 18-55 years, with an Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) between 2 and 6.5 who were being followed up in outpatient clinics of the Rehabilitation Service of La Princesa Hospital. The fatigue and disability outcomes before and after a structured exercise training program were evaluated, with each subject acting as their own control. The variables were measured using the Modified Fatigue Impact Scale (MFIS), Barthel Index (BI), and Functional Independence Scale (FIM). Differences according to recurrent or progressive course of the disease are assessed. Improvement in the FIM scale was observed after the retraining program () and was maintained in the medium term (). This improvement is not statistically significant in Barthel Index. Improvement in MFIS is observed after the program () and 4-6 months after the end. Both disease courses experience the same improvements with no statistically significant differences between them. The retraining program improves fatigue and multiple sclerosis-related functionality in the short and medium term. There are no differences according to disease course. Both experience the same positive changes with our intervention.

Research Article

Incidence and Prevalence of Multiple Sclerosis in Malmö, Southern Sweden

Objectives. To estimate the incidence and prevalence of multiple sclerosis (MS) in Malmö municipality in southwestern Sweden. Materials and Methods. Multiple sources were used in the case identification process. Case ascertainment was assessed by medical chart review including examinations such as magnetic resonance imaging, cerebrospinal fluid analyses, and relevant laboratory tests. Cases were classified according to the 2010 McDonald’s diagnostic criteria. Onset-adjusted prevalence and a definition of onset symptoms were applied. Results. The crude incidence of MS in 2001-2010 in Malmö municipality was 5.3/100,000 (95% confidence interval (CI): 4.5 to 6.2). There was a relapsing onset in 90.5% of cases. The female to male ratio was 1.8. The onset-adjusted prevalence for Dec 2010 was 133/100,000 (95% CI, 120 to 146) with a female to male ratio of 2.1. Conclusions. This is the first population-based epidemiological study in Skåne, the most southwestern part of Sweden showing a high incidence and prevalence. We found a lower incidence than expected according to previous nationwide figures, probably due to methodological differences between the studies. Our findings support the presence of a north-south gradient of MS prevalence in Sweden.

Research Article

Telehealth-Delivered Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia in Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis: A Pilot Study

Background. Over 50% of individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) have moderate or severe sleep disturbances, insomnia being the most common. In-person cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (F2F-CBTi) is currently the first-line treatment for insomnia. However, given potential limitations to access including mobility difficulty, fatigue, or living in a rural area, telehealth-delivered CBT-I (tele-CBTi) has been considered as an alternative treatment. The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility and treatment effect of tele-CBTi in people with MS and compare it to outcomes from a F2F-CBTi study in individuals with MS. Methods. 11 individuals with MS and symptoms of insomnia participated in 6 weekly CBT-I sessions with a trained CBT-I provider via live video. Insomnia severity (ISI), sleep quality (PSQI), and fatigue severity (FSS and MFIS) were assessed pre- and posttreatment as primary outcomes. Sleep onset latency (SOL), sleep efficiency (SE) and total sleep time (TST) from the PSQI, depression (PHQ-9), anxiety (GAD-7), sleep self-efficacy (SSES), and quality of life (MSIS-29) were also assessed pre- and posttreatment as secondary outcomes. Results. Participants resided in 9 different states. Retention and adherence rates were 100%. There were significant improvements in ISI, PSQI, MFIS, FSS, SOL, SSES, PHQ-9, and MSIS-29, but not SE, TST, or GAD-7. There were no significant differences between the F2F-CBTi group and tele-CBTi group for magnitude of change in the primary outcomes (ISI, PSQI, MFIS, and FSS) or the secondary outcomes (SOL, SE, TST, SSES, PHQ-9, GAD-7, and MSIS-29). Conclusions. Tele-CBTi is feasible and has outcome measures that are similar to that of in-person CBT-I treatment. Tele-CBTi may increase access to insomnia treatment in individuals with MS.

Research Article

Prevalence of Pediatric Onset Multiple Sclerosis in Saudi Arabia

Background. The prevalence of multiple sclerosis (MS) appears to be increasing worldwide. However, data on the pediatric onset of MS is lacking, particularly in developing countries. Objective. This study is aimed at reporting the current burden of the pediatric onset of MS in the five regions of Saudi Arabia. Methods. This study used relevant data from the National Saudi MS Registry that was operational between 2015 and 2018. The data on patients with pediatric onset MS from all the hospitals included in the registry was retrospectively analyzed using the age of diagnosis. Patients who were 1-18 years old when diagnosed were included in the analysis. Results. The registry included 287 patients with pediatric onset MS, with a mean age of diagnosis at 15.7 (SD: 2.06). 74.2% of the participants were females. For the included hospitals, the estimated prevalence of pediatric MS was at 2.73/100,000 pediatric Saudi population. The prevalence of pediatric MS in the remaining nonparticipant hospitals was then projected taking into account both the size of pediatric population in the Kingdom per region and the number of facilities treating and managing MS in each of the corresponding regions. The overall projected prevalence was found to be 14.33/100,000 Saudi pediatric population. Conclusion. To the best of our knowledge, this study reported the latest epidemiological data of pediatric onset of MS in Saudi Arabia. The current prevalence of MS among the pediatric Saudi population was found to be 2.73/100,000, and the overall projected prevalence was estimated at 14.33/100,000. Our findings were similar to those in other pediatric MS cohorts. Further studies are needed to understand the long-term prognosis, response to treatment, and disease course.

Research Article

Aquaporin-4 Autoantibody Detection by ELISA: A Retrospective Characterization of a Commonly Used Assay

Objective. Aquaporin-4 (AQP4) serum autoantibodies are detected by a variety of methods. The highest sensitivity is achieved with cell-based assays, but the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) is still commonly utilized by clinicians worldwide. Methods. We performed a retrospective review to identify all patients at the University of Utah who had AQP4 ELISA testing at ARUP Laboratories from 2010 to 2017. We then reviewed their diagnostic evaluation and final diagnosis based on the ELISA titer result. Results. A total of 750 tests for the AQP4 ELISA were analyzed, and 47 unique patients with positive titers were identified. Less than half of these patients (49%) met the clinical criteria for neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD). In cases of low positive titers (3.0–7.9 U/mL, ), the most common final diagnosis was multiple sclerosis (52.6%). In the moderate positive cohort (8.0–79.9 U/mL, ), only a little more than half the cohort (64.3%) had NMOSD. In cases with high positives (80–160 U/mL, ), 100% of patients met clinical criteria for NMOSD. Conclusions. Our data illustrates diagnostic uncertainty associated with the AQP4 ELISA, an assay that is still commonly ordered by clinicians despite the availability of more sensitive and specific tests to detect AQP4 autoantibodies in patients suspected of having NMOSD. In particular, low positive titer AQP4 ELISA results are particularly nonspecific for the diagnosis of NMOSD. The importance of accessibility to both sensitive and specific AQP4 testing cannot be overemphasized in clinical practice.

Research Article

A Tripartite Knowledge Translation Program: Innovative Patient-Centered Approach to Clinical Research Participation for Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis

Background. Knowledge translation (KT) models that represent an individual’s perspective are a sign of effective KT. Some common challenges in KT include participant engagement, organization of the team, and time demands of the participants. We implemented a unique tripartite KT program to (1) share current research, (2) inform persons living with multiple sclerosis (pwMS) about the clinical research process, and (3) invite pwMS to immediately participate in clinical research. The primary aim was to determine participants’ perspectives on the value and acceptability of an experiential research program offered at a patient and family educational conference. Methods. A team of researchers identified factors that would impact the logistics of hosting an experiential research program at a conference and designed a unique tripartite KT program. The local multiple sclerosis (MS) society was engaged to select an appropriate location and invite stakeholders to the conference. A survey to determine participants’ perspectives on the value and acceptability of the experiential research program was developed and analyzed. Results. 65 pwMS attended the conference, and 44 (67.7%) participated in the on-site experiential research program. 72.7% of the participants completed the survey, of which 93.8% stated that they strongly agree or agree with the following statements: “Did you feel like participating in research today was a valuable experience to you?” and “Did you feel like you were contributing to MS research?” 100% of the participants agreed or strongly agreed when asked “would you like to see more research activities taking place at these kinds of events?” Conclusions. This paper describes the logistics and challenges of conducting an experiential KT program, which proved to be rewarding for pwMS. The majority of pwMS attending the conference agreed to participate in the on-site experiential research program and an overwhelming majority of participants felt the experience was valuable.

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