In recognition of World MS Day, the health and rehabilitation psychologist at the Rowan Center for Behavioral Medicine discussed types of interventions for managing cognitive changes in patients with multiple sclerosis. [WATCH TIME: 5 minutes]
WATCH TIME: 5 minutes
“I'd say the first step is figuring out what is driving the cognitive changes. We want to find out if there's any emotional or multiple sclerosis symptoms that are impacting cognition, like fatigue, which exacerbates symptoms. Performing either a cognitive screening or a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation is ideal for these patients to understand fully what's happening.”
World MS day, held on May 30 every year, is an event where the multiple sclerosis (MS) community, including organizations such as the National MS Society, come together to raise awareness about the autoimmune disease. MS affects approximately 2.3 million patients worldwide and is most prevalent in North America and Europe, with the lowest prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia.1
This inflammatory disease causes an array of symptoms because of differential involvement of motor, sensory, visual and autonomic systems. Patients with MS may experience symptoms of fatigue, numbness and tingling, blurred vision, double vision, weakness, imbalance, and pain, among others. When a patient relapses, the relapse occurs because of focal areas of demyelination evolving over 24 hours. Through the involvement of cognitive programs and advanced precision treatments, the life expectancy of the disease has increased in recent years.
In honor of World MS Day, Meghan Beier, PhD, MA, health and rehabilitation psychologist at the Rowan Center for Behavioral Medicine, sat down with NeurologyLive® to discuss how MS affects cognitive function and the areas of cognition typically affected. She also talked about cognitive rehabilitation programs that are beneficial for patients, including which specific approaches that have shown the most promise. In addition, Beier spoke about lifestyle behaviors that can potentially help maintain cognitive function or even slow down cognitive decline. She concluded by talking about the role that psychological wellbeing and mental health plays in cognitive function.