#CMSC16 – MS Research Highlights How Sensory Processing, Fatigue, and Cognition Assessment May Improve Clinical Care

Margarida Azevedo, MSc avatar

by Margarida Azevedo, MSc |

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Sensory processing, fatigue, and cognition assessment in MS clinical care

Melissa A. Colbeck, an investigator at the Occupational Therapy, Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg, Canada, studied how different sensory processing approaches, cognition, and fatigue influence the quality of life of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). The findings suggested that establishing a relationship between the three factors and quality of life affects clinical practice in a positive manner, leading to more individualized and patient-specific clinical intervention, improving the quality of life and care of MS patients.

The abstract, “Sensory Processing, Fatigue, and Quality of Life for Adults with Multiple Sclerosis,” was recently presented at the June 1-4 2016 Annual Meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) as part of a session named Psychosocial: Cognition, Depression.

MS has a serious negative impact on the lives of patients, partly due to the physical disability associated with the disease. Prevalent MS-related psychological symptoms such as depression, fatigue, and cognitive deficits can also negatively impact patients’ quality of life. In this study, the connection between cognitive fatigue and sensory over-responsiveness was investigated.

Using a sensory processing approach to describe the relationship between cognitive fatigue and quality of life, the researchers aimed to determine how sensory processing, fatigue, and cognition relate to quality of life. Thirty MS patients were asked to complete a series of assessments, including the Adolescent/Adult Sensory Profile (AASP), Modified Fatigue Impact Scale (MFIS), Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), and RAND-36.

Correlation results indicated that MS patients who had high scores in low registration, sensory sensitivity, and sensation-avoidant quadrants of the AASP also presented higher levels of cognitive fatigue and poorer results in the assessment of quality of life. On the other hand, patients with high scores in sensory seeking had greater quality of life, and experienced less cognitive fatigue.

The study, funded by a Health Sciences Centre Foundation Allied Health Grant, has the potential to improve the delivery of clinical and occupational therapy for MS patients. The findings suggested that sensory processing, fatigue, and cognition function are factors that can modulate quality of life, and will allow the development of individualized intervention plans for managing fatigue, ultimately improving the quality of life for patients living with MS.

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