Online Aid for MS Patients with Cognitive Difficulties Now Part of MyMSTeam

Patricia Inacio, PhD avatar

by Patricia Inacio, PhD |

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MyHealthTeams together with Biogen launched a new online tool center, called MS and Cognition Resource Center, to educate multiple sclerosis (MS) patients on brain health, and to help them better understand how MS impacts the brain and how they might manage the cognitive challenges the disease brings.

“Educating people within the context of a social network where they’re already seeking trusted information and authentic connection is a powerful way to engage patients,” Eric Peacock, co-founder and CEO of MyHealthTeams, said in a press release.

MyHealthTeams creates social networks for people with chronic health conditions.

The idea to launch the MS and Cognition Resource Center stemmed from a study, sponsored by MyHealthTeams and Biogen, among members registered at the MyMSTeam — a website and mobile app for anyone living with MS, including caregivers. MyMSTeam, which opened in 2013 currently has more than 100,000 registered members.

The study identified several factors that impact patients’ daily life, and cognitive impairment was among one of the top five symptoms identified. Moreover, 49% of MyMSTeam members surveyed said that symptoms indicative of cognitive impairment preceded their MS diagnosis.

The resources now available through the MS and Cognition Resource Center include an introduction to how the brain works, and how MS impacts brain health and cognitive abilities, highlighting signs of potential cognitive impairment: e.g., difficulties in memory or recall, difficulties in learning new things, as well as easily forgetting appointments or people’s names; difficulties in attention and concentration; impairments in problem-solving and dealing with complex tasks.

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The online tool also includes tips on how to improve brain health — examples include routine physical exercise and mind exercises, a healthy diet and disease-modifying therapy (DMT) — as well as day-to day tips for managing MS cognitive challenges.

Patients can also download a discussion guide to help them discuss cognitive difficulties and ways of managing them with their doctor.

“There is a real knowledge gap about the impact MS has on cognitive functioning and when symptoms start,” said Terrie Livingston, senior director of U.S. Medical Affairs at Biogen.

“By helping people understand why they may be experiencing memory loss or having problems multitasking or concentrating, we can help them address the issue sooner — which is hugely beneficial,” Livingston concluded.