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The interactive web-based program MSmonitor for self-management and multidisciplinary care in multiple sclerosis: concept, content, and pilot results


There is a growing need to offer persons with multiple sclerosis (PwMS) possibilities for self-management and to integrate multidisciplinary health data. In 2009–2014 we developed a patient-reported outcome based, interactive, web-based program (MSmonitor) for (self-)monitoring, self-management and integrated, multidisciplinary care in MS.


The notions underlying the MSmonitor concept and the program’s elements are described. We analyze MSmonitor’s role in the self-management of fatigue by retrospective comparison of fatigue and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) before and after usage of specific elements of MSmonitor, and by a correlative analysis between frequency of usage and fatigue change.


After a step-wise development the program comprises six validated questionnaires: Multiple Sclerosis Impact Profile, Modified Fatigue Impact Scale-5 items (MFIS-5), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life-54 items, and the 8-item Leeds Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life (LMSQoL) questionnaires; two inventories: Medication and Adherence Inventory, Miction Inventory; two diaries: Activities Diary, Miction Diary; and two functionalities: e-consult and personal e-logbook. The program is now used in 17 hospitals by 581 PwMS and their neurologists, MS nurses, physical therapists, rehabilitative doctors, continence nurses, and family doctors. Those PwMS (N=105) who used the LMSQoL and MFIS-5 questionnaires at least twice in a period of up to 6 months, showed improved HRQoL (P<0.026). In the subgroup (N=56) who had also used the Activities Diary twice or more, the frequency of diary usage correlated modestly with the degree of fatigue improvement (r=0.292; P=0.028).


MSmonitor is an interactive web-based program for self-management and integrated care in PwMS. Pilot data suggest that the repeated use of the short MFIS-5 and LMSQoL questionnaires is associated with an increase in HRQoL, and that a repeated use of the Activities Diary might contribute to the self-management of fatigue.

via Patient Prefer Adherence

The search for the target antigens of multiple sclerosis, part 2: CD8+ T cells, B cells, and antibodies in the focus of reverse-translational research

Interest in CD8T cells and B cells was initially inspired by observations in multiple sclerosis rather than in animal models: CD8+ T cells predominate in multiple sclerosis lesions, oligoclonal immunoglobulin bands in CSF have long been recognised as diagnostic and prognostic markers, and anti-B-cell therapies showed considerable efficacy in multiple sclerosis. Taking a reverse-translational approach, findings from human T-cell receptor (TCR) and B-cell receptor (BCR) repertoire studies provided strong evidence for antigen-driven clonal expansion in the brain and CSF. New methods allow the reconstruction of human TCRs and antibodies from tissue-infiltrating immune cells, which can be used for the unbiased screening of antigen libraries. Myelinoligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) has received renewed attention as an antibodytarget in childhood multiple sclerosis and in a small subgroup of adult patients with multiple sclerosis. Furthermore, there is growing evidence that a separate condition in adults exists, tentatively called MOG-antibody-associated encephalomyelitis, which has clinical features that overlap with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder and multiple sclerosis. Although CD8+ T cells and B cells are thought to have a pathogenic role in some subgroups of patients, their target antigens have yet to be identified.

via The Lancet Neurol

Cortical atrophy patterns in multiple sclerosis are non-random and clinically relevant

Grey matter atrophy is common in multiple sclerosis. However, in contrast with other neurodegenerative diseases, it is unclear whether grey matter atrophy in multiple sclerosis is a diffuse ‘global’ process or develops, instead, according to distinct anatomical patterns. Using source-based morphometry we searched for anatomical patterns of co-varying cortical thickness and assessed their relationships with white matter pathology, physical disability and cognitive functioning. Magnetic resonance imaging was performed at 3 T in 208 patients with long-standing multiple sclerosis (141 females; age = 53.7 ± 9.6 years; disease duration = 20.2 ± 7.1 years) and 60 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Spatial independent component analysis was performed on cortical thickness maps derived from 3D T1-weighted images across all subjects to identify co-varying patterns. The loadings, which reflect the presence of each cortical thickness pattern in a subject, were compared between patients with multiple sclerosis and healthy controls with generalized linear models. Stepwise linear regression analyses were used to assess whether white matter pathology was associated with these loadings and to identify the cortical thickness patterns that predict measures of physical and cognitive dysfunction. Ten cortical thickness patterns were identified, of which six had significantly lower loadings in patients with multiple sclerosis than in controls: the largest loading differences corresponded to the pattern predominantly involving the bilateral temporal pole and entorhinal cortex, and the pattern involving the bilateral posterior cingulate cortex. In patients with multiple sclerosis, overall white matter lesion load was negatively associated with the loadings of these two patterns. The final model for physical dysfunction as measured with Expanded Disability Status Scale score (adjusted R2 = 0.297; P < 0.001) included the predictors age, overall white matter lesion load, the loadings of two cortical thickness patterns (bilateral sensorimotor cortex and bilateral insula), and global cortical thickness. The final model predicting average cognition (adjusted R2 = 0.469; P < 0.001) consisted of age, the loadings of two cortical thickness patterns (bilateral posterior cingulate cortex and bilateral temporal pole), overall white matter lesion load and normal-appearing white matter integrity. Although white matter pathology measures were part of the final clinical regression models, they explained limited incremental variance (to a maximum of 4%). Several cortical atrophy patterns relevant for multiple sclerosis were found. This suggests that cortical atrophy in multiple sclerosis occurs largely in a non-random manner and develops (at least partly) according to distinct anatomical patterns. In addition, these cortical atrophy patterns showed stronger associations with clinical (especially cognitive) dysfunction than global cortical atrophy.via Brain.

The search for the target antigens of multiple sclerosis, part 1: autoreactive CD4+ T lymphocytes as pathogenic effectors and therapeutic targets

Identification of the target antigens of pathogenic antibodies and T cells is of fundamental importance for understanding the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis, and for the development of personalised treatments for the disease. Myelin-specific CD4+ T cells emerged long ago as a key player in animal models of multiple sclerosis. Taking a forward-translational approach, autoreactive CD4+ T cells have been studied extensively in patients with multiple sclerosis, and there is evidence, but as yet no direct proof, that autoreactive CD4+ T cells are a key player in the pathogenesis of the disorder. Several therapies that selectively target myelin-specific CD4+ T cells have been investigated in clinical trials up to phase 3. So far, however, none of these (mostly underpowered) therapeutic trials have provided definitive evidence of clinical efficacy. One major obstacle to personalised, highly selective immunotherapy is the absence of standardised and reliable assays to assess antigen-specific human T-cell responses. Such assays would be essential for stratification of patients with multiple sclerosis according to their individual target antigens.

via The Lancet Neurol

Cognitive and psychiatric comorbidities in neuromyelitis optica


Our primary objective was to examine the neuropsychological and psychopathological profile of patients with neuromyelitis optica (NMO) and compare these to multiple sclerosis (MS) and healthy control (HC) groups. We also examined for relationships between cognitive and psychiatric variables and clinical factors including accumulated neurological disability and disease duration.


A neuropsychological test battery was administered along with a structured psychiatric interview and quantitative measures of mood symptoms.


42 NMO, 42 MS and 42 HC participants were assessed. Cognitive impairments were observed in 67% of NMO patients. The prevalence and profile of cognitive impairments and lifetime prevalence of depression was similar between NMO and MS groups. However, significantly higher rates of recurrent depression and suicidality were observed in NMO patients. Correlational analyses revealed higher levels of anxiety symptoms were associated with shorter disease duration in NMO, while higher depression symptomlevels were associated with higher neurological disability and poorer cognition.


Our results demonstrate substantial cognitive and psychiatric comorbidities in NMO patients. Similar rates of lifetime and current depression between NMO and MS appear to mask greater underlying psychiatric burden in NMO and further understandings of the course of neurobehavioural comorbidities is required to better comprehend the additional morbidity in NMO. Our data support a role for cognitive and psychiatric assessments in the comprehensive care of NMO patients.

via J of the Neurol Sci

Linear lesions may assist early diagnosis of neuromyelitis optica and longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis, two subtypes of NMOSD

Purpose: To investigate the relationship between linear lesions (LL) and the development of longitudinally extensive spinal cord lesions (LESCL) in Chinese patients with neuromyelitis optica or longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis.

Method: The clinical records of 143 patients with these conditions were reviewed. Forty-one patients with LL were divided into three groups according to the order of appearance of LL and LESCL (simultaneously [n = 10], LL first [n = 26], or LESCL first [n = 5]). The remaining 102 patients without LL were used as a control group.

Results: Patients who developed LL first demonstrated a lower annualized relapse rate than those in the simultaneous group (1.00 [0.23–10.00] vs. 4.38 [0.60–6.67], p = 0.017) and the control group (1.00 [0.23–10.00] vs. 2.00 [0.24–10.00], p = 0.007). Among all patients with LL, there were significantly more who developed them before LESCL than those who developed them after LESCL (p < 0.001) or at the same time (p = 0.008). The mean time before the appearance of LESCL was 9.0 months (2–35 months) in the ‘LL-first’ group, which was shorter than that in the control group (12 months [1–60 months], p = 0.010). The rate of positivity for anti-aquaporin 4 IgG antibodies was higher in patients with LL compared with controls (90.24% vs. 64.71%, p = 0.002).

Conclusion: LL may be a precursor to LESCL and assist early diagnosis of neuromyelitis optica and longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis.

via J of the Neurol Sci