Cognitive impairment, a research priority for the MS Society of Canada, affects a significant proportion of people living with MS.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) can cause a reduction in brain size (also called brain atrophy). Research has shown that this atrophy and lesions developed in MS can be linked to the presence of cognitive difficulties. Cognitive difficulties affect up to seventy percent of individuals living with progressive MS, predominantly impacting information processing and speed, learning and memory, executive function and perceptual processing. Also, individuals themselves have voiced cognitive impairment as an area of concern that needs to be addressed.
Five years ago, I traveled around the country and engaged the MS Community (researchers, caregivers, individuals living with MS) to find out what areas of research are important to them—cognition and mental health was one of them!
While researchers are forging ahead with great ideas in symptom management and rehabilitation, we also heard about the complexity of factors that affect an individual with multiple sclerosis (MS) that need to be kept in consideration when developing new projects and initiatives. Therefore, in the third and final blog series on the progressive MS Alliance meeting, I will be highlighting fatigue management, understanding how comorbidities impact MS, and the mood and resilience of people living with MS.
Taking the lessons learned from stroke research (part 1) and moving forward to develop new projects and programs is important for the advancement of research in rehabilitation and symptom management in progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). For this post, I’ll be highlighting areas that garnered interest at the Progressive MS Alliance meeting such as brain stimulation, robotics, exercise, cognition, and patient perspectives.
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” quoted by Aristotle and reiterated by Dr. Anthony Feinstein, a neurologist at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto and co-chair of the 3rd Scientific Congress of the Progressive MS Alliance.
This quote speaks to the holistic culture of the meeting, which brought together global leaders in the field to assess the challenges of progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) research – with a particular focus on rehabilitation and symptom management. With over 220 participants from 16 countries, this was the largest Congress to date for the Alliance. Throughout the week, researchers and clinicians provided their insights on lessons that can be learned from other conditions such as stroke and spinal cord injury, and shared their research on symptom management and rehabilitation – including brain stimulation, robotics, patient perspectives, exercise and cognition, and how they could be applied specifically in MS. Continue reading →
Incidence and prevalence are two terms that are frequently used in epidemiology but are often mixed up or used incorrectly. Epidemiology is a branch of research that studies the distribution and determinants of health and illness within populations. Data generated from epidemiological research informs public health and can help understand the history of a disease and determine who is at risk of developing a disease. Distinguishing these two terms is important when discussing the patterns, causes, and effects of MS in the population.