Unemployment in MS: utility of the MS Functional Composite and cognitive testing

This study from the US looked at the utility of the Multiple Sclerosis Functional Composite (MSFC) and a brief cognitive test battery when examining employment status in MS. In MS, determinations regarding the ability to work are often highly dependent on measurement tools. 

The study included 77 individuals with MS who completed the MSFC and a brief battery of cognitive tests. They found that unemployed individuals demonstrated worse upper extremity function on the MSFC. Interestingly there was no difference on the PASAT (Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task), the only cognitive measure in the MSFC. With regard to the cognitive tests, unemployed people performed worse on measures of memory, information processing and executive function. The Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT) was the sole predictor of employment status, using logistic regression analysis. Overall, this study demonstrates the SDMT to be a significant predictor of employment status. There was no significant group difference on the PASAT and this raises the question for considering replacing the PASAT with the SDMT in the MSFC.

Authors: Strober L, Chiaravalloti N

Source: Mult Scler. 2013 May 1. [Epub ahead of print]

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