Monitoring Progression in Multiple Sclerosis: Stephen Rao, PhD, ABPP-Cn


The Ralph and Luci Schey Chair and Director of the Schey Center for Cognitive Neuroimaging at Cleveland Clinic discussed his investigations into improving the MSPT.

“Should they report or their family members report deterioration, they can then come in to see the doctor, we can then assess them for an MS relapse. Those relapses can make a difference in their performance [on the MSPT], and we want to capture that, because that has implications in terms of treatment.”

The Multiple Sclerosis Performance Test (MSPT) battery is susceptible to significant practice effects (PE), according to data from a recent study presented at the 2021 American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting, April 17-22, by Shirley Liao, PhD, MS, biostatistician, Biogen.

The investigators found that the Processing Speed Test (average increase, 3 points; P <.001) and Manual Dexterity Test (average decrease, 1 second; P = .005) showed significant PE. Walking speed test scores did not show significant PE (P = .07). Larger PE was seen with younger patients (P <.001), patients with fewer self-reported depression symptoms (P <.001), and patients with lower baseline Patient Determined Disease Steps (P <.001) after Bonferroni correction.

NeurologyLive spoke with senior author Stephen Rao, PhD, ABPP-Cn, Ralph and Luci Schey Chair and director, Schey Center for Cognitive Neuroimaging, Cleveland Clinic, to learn more about the importance of capturing an accurate performance on the MSPT. He also discussed further research he’d like to do with the test.

For more coverage of AAN 2021, click here.

Liao S, de Moor C, Williams JR, Fisher E, Rao S. Real-world practice effects and effect modifiers of neuroperformance tests in Multiple Sclerosis Partners Advancing Technology and Health Solutions (MS PATHS). Presented at the 2021 American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting; April 17-22, 2021. Abstract P15 037.
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