Targeting Progressive MS Symptoms: Kathy Zackowski, PhD, OTR

Disease Spotlight | <b>Disease Spotlight: Multiple Sclerosis</b>

The senior director of patient management, care, and rehabilitation research at the National MS Society discussed symptoms of MS that need more research, as well as other factors impacting care, such as comorbidities.

“There are other factors that also need to be addressed. We’re finding, through research, that things like depression and comorbidities can contribute to [MS] progression. Another issue was resilience. This idea that, when you have a condition that is ever-changing, like MS is, you have to build up some resilience or ability to tolerate the changes and maintain a positive outlook to address the changes as best you can.”

The International Progressive MS Alliance, consisting of multiple sclerosis (MS) agencies across the world, has called for action in the field of progressive MS to prioritize certain areas of research in a recent paper. The paper sought to identify important issues in progressive MS that need more research and funding.

The authors of the paper, including Kathy Zackowski, PhD, OTR, senior director, patient management, care, and rehabilitation research, National MS Society, isolated 4 symptoms that they believe need to be targeted in progressive MS research: fatigue, pain, mobility and upper extremity impairment, and cognitive impairment. They stressed the increased burden of these symptoms in people with progressive MS compared to relapsing MS.

NeurologyLive spoke with Zackowski to learn more about the prevalence of these symptoms in people with progressive MS and their effects on patients. She also spoke about other factors not covered in the paper that she believes still need to be studied for their effects on disease progression, namely, depression, comorbidities, and resilience in the face of an ever-changing disease.

REFERENCE
Zackowski KM, Freeman J, Brichetto G, et al. Prioritizing progressive MS rehabilitation research: A call from the International Progressive MS Alliance. Mult Scler J. Published online March 15, 2021. doi: 10.1177/1352458521999970